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STILL WATERS 



VOL. I. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 



http://www.archive.org/details/stillwaters01paul 



STILL WATERS 



BY THE AUTHOR OF DOROTHY 



Their strength is to sit still. 



Behold ! we know not anything; 
I can but trust that good shall fall 
At last— far off— at last, to all, 

And every winter change to spring. 

In Memoriam. 




IN TWO VOLUMES 
VOL. I. 

LONDON 
JOHN W. PARKER AND SON WEST STRAND 

i857 

t The Author reserves the right of Translation] 



LONDON : 

6AVILL AND EDWARDS, PBINTEKS, 

CHANDOS STREET. 



V'l 

STILL WATERS 



CHAPTER I. 



After them went Displeasure and Pleasaunce, 
He looking lompish and full sullein sad, 
And hanging down his heavy countenaunce : 
She cheerfull, fresh, and full of ioyaunce glad, 
3 As if no sorrow she ne felt ne drad. 

The Faerie Queene. 



10 



. SUBSTANTIAL red brick house, with 
J\_ stone facings, stands on the sunny side of 
the High-street of Holmdale, a market town 
in one of the midland counties of England. 
This was, not many years ago, the abode of 
Mrs. Lennox, the widow of the colonel of the 
— th regiment, who died in active service in 
India. In Holmdale her unmarried life had 
3 been passed, and thither she returned as a widow, 
" broken in health and spirits, with her three 
children, David, Ruth, and Isabel. She settled 
in the town, partly from motives of economy, 
partly from an unwillingness to be separated 
from her boy, who attended King Edward's 

VOL. I. b 



2 STILL WATERS. 

Grammar School, then in excellent repute, as 
well for scholarship, as for its high moral tone. 

It was a cheerful house. The best rooms 
had the unfortunate propensity of looking upon 
the street, but behind there was a sunny 
walled garden, famous for its fruit trees, and 
with a luxuriance of old-fashioned flowers 
bordering the more useful vegetable produc- 
tions. There were broad gravel walks to pace 
in winter, and no lack of shady retreats for 
summer. 

Summer was past and gone, however, as 
Mrs. Lennox remarked with a sigh when the 
twilight fell before David's return from school. 
She added an admonition to Isabel not to put 
out her eyes by reading by firelight ; but 
Isabel, with her arms pillowed on a folio edi- 
tion of Shakspeare, and her curls falling over 
the page, still pored over As You Like It, and 
did not hear or heed. Even as she sat, she 
would have made a study for a painter, and 
she was in truth picturesque rather than beau- 
tiful, with wonderful hazel eyes, rippled brown 
hair, and a complexion of sun-burnt brilliancy. 
And in all her movements there was that grace- 
ful abandon which does not, or ought not to 
survive very early youth. 



STILL WATERS. 3 

In colouring and features the sisters were 
not unlike, yet those who knew them well 
could only note the dissimilarity between 
them. Ruth was the elder by three years, a 
shy and demure maiden, who had attained 
that most shy and demure age of f sweet six- 
teen/ Her hair was not permitted to escape 
in wavy tendrils, but smoothly braided round 
her face, though nature had her way so far 
that it was rippled still. Her eyes were less 
remarkable for size and brilliancy, nor were 
her cheeks so tanned, perhaps because she was 
more mindful than the younger sister of pre- 
cautions against sun and weather. Her dress 
and air were scrupulously neat, or, as David 
was wont to declare, most formally precise : 
nominally the two sisters were dressed alike, 
but even in small matters character will peep 
out; and while Isabel's dark merino dress was 
set off by a dainty bow of cherry-coloured 
ribbon, which was not always perfectly straight, 
that of Ruth was only relieved by the linen 
collar and cuffs, sitting without a crease round 
her slender throat, and singularly small hands. 

c There is David/ said Mrs. Lennox, as a 
scuffle of feet upon the pavement was fol- 
lowed by such a vigorous opening and shutting 
b 2 



4 STILL WATERS. 

of the house door as only a boy can per- 
petrate. 

' And Jasper/ Ruth added : ' I heard his 
voice, bidding some one good-night/ 

As she spoke, David threw the drawing- 
room door back on its hinges, causing an 
Indian cabinet to totter, and Mrs. Lennox to 
exclaim that it would fall, as confidently as if 
she had not asserted the same ever since they 
settled at Holmdale and the cabinet was placed 
there. ' Well, mother/ he said, ' I have 
brought Clinton home to tea/ 

1 1 am glad of it/ said Mrs. Lennox. 
c Come in, Jasper. How is your mother V 

The boy, who remained standing dubiously 
in the background until his friend's invitation 
was confirmed, came forward and shook hands 
with Mrs. Lennox. He appeared to be, as 
indeed he was, at least two years older than 
David ; but this was only one of many differ- 
ences which had not interfered with their close 
friendship. Jasper Clinton was tall and 
strongly made ; his expression grave, and almost 
sullen, and, though his massive brow gave 
promise of intellect, it was out of keeping with 
his still boyish features. David, unlike his 
sisters, was very fair, with light blue eyes, 



STILL WATERS. 5 

shaded, however, by eyebrows and long lashes 
of a considerably darker hue than his yellow 
hair — a peculiarity which always imparts a 
singular expression of resolution to the coun- 
tenance ; and this imperious cast of beauty was 
confirmed by the spirited bearing of his slight, 
athletic figure. 

( Isabel will not deign to notice us ; — only 
banished dukes are good enough company for 
her/ said David, seizing his sister's pendent 
head by the curls, while he looked over her 
shoulder. Isabel resented the indignity by a 
slight, impatient gesture, and went on reading. 

' Is she reading As You Like It for the first 
time ? How I envy her V said young Clinton, 
with that blase air which boys are so apt to 
assume. Yet in this instance an undefined 
sense of weariness and satiety was probably 
somewhat genuine. 

' For the first time V repeated David ; c for 
the fiftieth more likely. Isabel began to read 
Shakspeare before she could spell ; indeed, I am 
not sure that her spelling is even now irre- 
proachable, and, from the fact of its having a 
monosyllabic title, As You Like It was among 
the earliest of her studies/ 

Jasper laughed, and so did Ruth ; and Isabel 



6 STILL WATERS. 

raised her head with a pretty assumption of 
girlish dignity. f How can you talk such 
nonsense, David V 

' Because a little nonsense was required to 
rouse my sage sister from her studies. Shut 
up your folio, and make room for tea, for we 
are in a hurry. Clinton is to write my theme 
for me before he goes home/ 

e You idle boy V said Mrs. Lennox. ' Why 
not write it yourself ?' 

' I really cannot, my dear mother. The old 
Doctor has given us a course of cardinal vir- 
tues, beginning with Prudence, and it is against 
my principles to say anything civil of such 
a respectable, contemptible virtue. But, as 
Clinton has no such scruples, he and Ruth 
may compose some platitudes for which I am 
to be responsible, and Isabel and I will reserve 
ourselves for Fortitude. Can you give them a 
motto, Isabel V 

1 ' Done like a Frenchman — turn and turn 
again/ ' said Isabel, readily ; ' that is Prudence, 
and will serve for Ruth and Jasper's motto. 
And we can find hundreds for ourselves, and 
heroes too/ 

1 1 cannot conceive/ said Jasper, in a tone 
of pique, ' why you call Prudence mine or 



STILL WATERS. 7 

your sister's virtue, if such is your definition 
of it/ 

1 1 have given no definition ; only a motto, 
and you are welcome to find a better if you 
can/ replied Isabel. 

' But why/ persisted Jasper, ' should you 
call it our virtue? I never had any special 
predilection for the same/ 

' Ask David/ said Isabel, shaking back her 
curls with some petulance. ' It was he who 
said so, not I — and, besides, I hate being asked 
my reasons/ 

c In which you show a proper sense of in- 
feriority/ replied David. ' The Doctor said the 
other day that a woman's instinct is generally 
right, her arguments invariably wrong/ 

c How extremely insulting!' exclaimed Isabel. 
c And it is quite untrue besides, as I shall tell 
the Doctor when I see him. I should like to 
bring him and Rosalind together, and see 
which would have the best of the argument.' 

' I hope you do not intend to take Rosalind 
for your model, however. She was not a 
womanly woman/ said Jasper. 

1 So says Ruth/ retorted Isabel. ( She was 
not prudent enough to suit either of you.' 

' Poor despised Prudence/ said Mrs. Lennox, 



8 STILL WATERS. 

•with a smile ; c she has hard measure among 
you, and even Jasper seems unwilling to plead 
her cause/ 

I He "will not have a chance of doing so un- 
less Ruth gives us tea/ said David, and, in com- 
pliance with the hint, Ruth folded up her work, 
with -which she had been too much engaged to 
take any share in the foregoing discussion, and 
sat down to the tea-table. 

e You did not tell me/ Mrs. Lennox said to 
Jasper, ' how Mrs. Clinton is/ 

' As well as usual, thank you/ answered the 
boy, "with almost ungracious brevity. 

f I suppose that she is very anxious about 
this Christmas examination V 

I I don't know. I have told her that I have 
no chance of the scholarship/ 

c I wonder that you did not scruple to tell 
such a gratuitous falsehood/ remarked David; 
1 however, it "will only make your success more 
triumphant. All the fellows say you will beat 
Lewis and Allen/ 

' I know "who might beat us all three, if he 
were to try/ said Jasper. 

1 Ah, so they say ! but it is quite nonsense. 
At all events, I am too young to try this time, 
and before next year I shall be at Sandhurst/ 



STILL WATERS. 9 

The words were spoken with the confidence 
sometimes assumed to bear down opposition, 
but though Mrs. Lennox looked disturbed, she 
said nothing. 

f Before next year I shall be too old/ said 
Jasper; f if I fail, I am to leave school at once, and 
look for a clerkship, or something of that sort/ 

1 Perhaps/ said Ruth, softly, ' you might get 
into the bank here/ 

' Perhaps/ repeated Jasper ; but he did not 
appear to find anything cheering in such a 
contingency. He swallowed his tea in haste, 
and, pushing back his chair, he asked if he 
might set to work at once. But David was in 
no such hurry. 

' I have not half done/ he said. f Give me 
another cup of tea, Ruth, and then you can light 
Clinton's candle, and settle him comfortably in 
the study. I will follow when I am ready/ 

' I can light my own candle/ said Jasper ; 
' upon my word, Lennox, you know how to fag 
your sisters/ 

'Not to mention his friends/ added Ruth, 
gaily ; ' I admire the assurance with which he 
sends us to do his work, while he sits here at 
his ease/ 

'It was Clinton's own suggestion, I would 



10 STILL WATERS. 

have hira to remember/ said David j ' and 
mamma likes me to relax my mind, and give 
her the news before I run away, does she not?' 
He looked up to meet his mother's smile of 
proud affection, and drew his chair closer to 
her own, in preparation for a talk, while Ruth 
and Jasper Clinton left the room together. 

( I never can get on with Jasper/ observed 
Mrs. Lennox. 

( Xo one does/ replied David j ' but he is 
more human with us than with any one else, 
and I like him exceedingly : he is thoroughly 
gentlemanlike, which is more than can be said 
for all my schoolfellows/ 

' I like him too/ said Mrs. Lennox j e and I 
am so sorry for him. He looks as if he never 
forgot his story/ 

1 He certainly has it in his mind to-night/ 
said David, f for it was cast up against him* 
He was appealed to in some question of fair 
and unfair, and then taunted by another fellow, 
who asked what the son of a felon should know 
of truth and honour/ 

' ^Yhat a shame V exclaimed Isabel, with 
kindling eyes. ' Did you knock him down, 
David V 

' Nbj Isabel j with my theme in my head, I 



STILL WATERS. II 

remembered that discretion was the better part 
of valour, aud forbore to attack a fellow twice 
my size. Clinton has spirit enough in general, 
but any allusion to his father seems to knock it 
out of him. He turned white and red, without 
answering a word, and one can see how it 
rankles. I must say that the feeling of the 
school is with him, and there was a cry of 
' Shame/ like Isabel's just now, which made 

Ba , the fellow I mean, look remarkably 

small/ 

1 And Mr. Clinton was not exactly a felon, 
was he, mamma? 5 said Isabel. 

' Something very like it, my dear. He com- 
mitted a forgery, which is only a genteel kind 
of felony ; and was sentenced to transportation 
for life. It must be more than twelve years 
ago, for I remember that I had you in nay 
arms when I read the trial in the paper. I 
fancy that it came like a thunderbolt on poor 
Barbara, for she was so proud and so fond of 
him, although his manner was by no means 
prepossessing, — inattentive to her, and elabo- 
rately civil to the rest of the world.-' 

' So you have seen him/ said David. c I 
thought you had only kno^vn Mrs. Clinton 
before her marriage/ 



12 STILL WATERS. 

f I saw little of her afterwards. She hap- 
pened to be at Portsmouth with her husband 
when we went abroad, and we did not meet 
again until I settled here. At first I hoped 
to renew our former intimacy ; but that is im- 
possible, since she can neither endure to speak 
of the past nor to banish it a moment from 
her mind. She has never spoken of her hus- 
band, and I do not know if he is still living/ 

1 She is an appalling woman/ said David, 
' and as stiff and repulsive to her own son as 
to any one else, though I believe she likes him 
after a fashion/ 

c Possibly/ said Mrs. Lennox. f It is an 
amiable weakness, which mothers cannot easily 
shake off. But it has been an injudicious train- 
ing for a boy like Jasper, whose morbidly 
sensitive temper leads him to exaggerate all 
the evils of his position/ 

e Jasper thinks so himself/ said. David. 
1 That is the chief reason why he is so anxious 
to get the scholarship. Here, he says that 
dishonour tracks his footsteps, and he should 
breathe more freely elsewhere. And now I 
must go and look after my theme/ 



STILL WATERS. 13 



CHAPTER II. 

I have been lonely, — I am lonely still ; 

I dug all tenderness from out my heart : 
There is no fibre of the smiling ill 

To grow again, to torture and depart. 

IX. Poems by V. 

rpo Ruth the particulars related by Mrs. 
-*- Lennox were known long since, and not 
through her mother alone. Even to-night, in 
the midst of a discussion of the examples 
applicable to her subject, prudent Ulysses, the 
Fabian policy, and the lines of Torres Vedras, 
Jasper said, reverting to what had passed in 
the other room, ' I don't know where I got 
this reputation for prudence, but I do know 
that I shall be sorely tempted to forfeit it if I 
fail in the examination. I would rather enlist, 
or go to sea before the mast, than go into the 
bank here/ 

' Oh, Jasper V 

1 1 am in earnest, Ruth ; shocking as you 
may think it. To live on here, to be taunted 
and pointed at, and mistrusted, at every turn — 



14 STILL WATERS. 

to remember my dishonour, and to see that it 
is remembered by others — to have to be grateful 
for the obligation of placing me in a position 
I despise, and would willingly spurn; — it is 
altogether intolerable '/ 

e No one has a right to mistrust you/ said 
Ruth. ' The dishonour is not yours, and you 
will live down suspicion/ 

c It were easier to die under it, Ruth. There 
is such a thing as visiting the sins of the 
fathers on their children/ 

' Not in the sense you mean/ said Ruth, 
quickly. ' You know how the Jews' proverb 
was set aside, when they said : ' The fathers 
have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth 
are set on edge/ And, after all, Jasper, I 
believe that you will get the scholarship, and 
be able to go to Oxford and take orders/ 

' Believe it if you will, but I am convinced 
that I shall fail. I have lost ground in the 
last few weeks; and the more knowledge I 
cram into my head, the less rises to the 
surface when I come to use it. For that reason 
I came here to-night. I cannot help working 
when I am at home, and it only stupefies me, 
and does no good/ 

' The Doctor knows you so well, Jasper, that 



STILL WATERS. 1 5 

he will make allowance for what he knows to 
be only nervousness/ 

c The Doctor/ rejoined Jasper, f has neither 
the right nor the inclination to make allowances. 
Nor does the decision rest with him : the ex- 
aminers always come down from Oxford/ He 
resumed his pen, as if weary of the subject ; 
and Ruth was very willing to let it drop, since 
her womanly tact enabled her to perceive that 
any attempt to cheer him only made his antici- 
pations more gloomy. David soon came in to 
hinder, rather than to help, by his criticisms 
and emendations ; and though Jasper acquiesced 
in the alterations he suggested, Ruth was less 
submissive. 

f You will quite spoil that sentence/ she 
said ; ' let it stand, Jasper, or let David write 
his own theme/ 

' No, indeed/ said David ; ' I must strike out 
Torres Yedras : he may make what he can of 
Fabius, who was always my aversion, especially 
since it will serve to heighten the antithesis 
when I come to Hannibal. But it is a palpable 
poaching on my preserve to make any allusion 
to the Great Captain, who is to be the hero of 
Fortitude/ 

1 Well/ said Jasper, looking at his watch, 



16 STILL WATERS. 

c write it after your fashion, for it is time to go 
home and prepare my own work/ 

( Isabel and I mean to walk with you/ said 
David, ' for she must needs go star-gazing. Will 
you join the party, Ruth V 

' If mamma does not mind being left alone/ 
said Ruth; and, when satisfied on that point, 
she was as well pleased as her sister to join the 
starlight walk. 

Two and two, they stepped briskly through 
the deserted streets, Isabel and her brother, 
always together, in front, followed by Ruth 
and Jasper, who were almost as inseparable. 
Their voices were hushed, the stillness and 
silence of the night subduing even David's 
joyous spirits, so that little was heard save the 
tramp of their feet along the pavement. It 
was clear and frosty ; the stars shone out with 
great brilliancy ; and Isabel only spoke to point 
out the constellations as she successively reco- 
gnised them. 

' Isabel is so quick in taking up anything 
she fancies/ observed Ruth; ( she only began 
star-gazing three weeks ago/ 

Jasper assented, presently adding in an under- 
tone, i My pleasure in the pursuit is spoiled by 
the necessity of submitting to the arbitrary 



STILL WATERS. 1 7 

arrangement of men. When the heavens are 
mapped out, one loses the sense of their infinity. ' 

1 ■ He knoweth the number of the stars, and 
calleth them all by their names/ ■ said Ruth, 
softly. c And I think there is great harmony in 
method/ 

f Method is your cardinal virtue/ said Jasper. 
1 1 find it only an irksome necessity/ 

' It is an instinct/ said Ruth, ' -with which 
some people are born; — those people, David 
says, who are destined to be old maids/ 

c Then we may conclude that such is not 
Isabel's destiny/ said Jasper. ' Do look, now 
the lamp-light falls on her, at the way her 
shawl is wound round her, with one end 
thrown over her shoulder, and her hands 
ungloved V 

' You precise and proper person V exclaimed 
Isabel, her attention arrested by the sound of 
her own name : ( Do you suppose that Cas- 
siopeia cares whether I wear gloves or no V 

1 Possibly not/ returned Jasper, drily. ' If 
she did, you might pay more respect to her 
presence, than to that of your humble servant/ 

f Hear him V said Isabel, in unrestrained 
merriment ; ' he takes it as a personal insult 
that I don't wear gloves. I wonder what Ruth 

vol. i. c 



1 8 STILL WATERS. 

has clone ? she keeps her hands rather suspi- 
ciously folded under her cloak/ But the 
aspersion was unfounded, as Jasper discovered, 
when he shook hands with his friends at his 
own door, and bade them good night. He 
did not ask them to linger, noting how David 
hurried the leave-taking, lest they should be 
invited to go in and see Mrs. Clinton, and his 
perception of the motive for this haste did not 
help to clear his clouded brow, nor impart any 
alacrity to the step with which he entered the 
room where his mother sat. 

David had scarcely used too strong an ex- 
pression when he called Mrs. Clinton a repul- 
sive woman, although, as the Barbara Maylin 
of Mrs. Lennox's youthful recollections, she 
had been remarkable for grace and beauty. 
Now the regularity of outline had settled into 
harshness, her manner was cast in the same 
unpliable mould; even her voice seemed to 
have but one tone, studiously adapted to con- 
vey no expression. She always wore black, 
which set off her colourless delicacy of com- 
plexion, her only remaining beauty; and the 
grey hair, the hollow eye, and the deep lines 
round her mouth, gave her the appearance of 
being much older than she really was. 



STILL WATERS. 1 9 

The aspect of the room was cheerless, small 
and scantily furnished, and with little regard 
to the amenities of life. Mrs. Clinton sat at a 
centre table, on which there was nothing but 
her work-basket and embroidery frame, and a 
case containing a miniature, which she hastily 
closed and laid aside when Jasper's hand 
was on the door. The boy stooped to kiss 
his mother's forehead; more, as it seemed, 
from habit, than as a spontaneous expression 
of affection, and she observed that he had 
come home early. 

' Yes, I have some work to do/ said Jasper, 
and this appeared to be a sufficient reason for 
lighting his candle, and sitting down to his 
books at the other end of the room, before 
another word had been spoken on either side. 

Mrs. Clinton applied herself to the embroi- 
dery, which she executed with singular skill 
and delicacy ; and for an hour or more the 
silence was unbroken, save when Jasper flut- 
tered the leaves of his lexicon, or a half- 
consumed coal slipped through the bars of the 
grate upon the hearth. At last he shut up his 
books with a stretch and a sigh, he looked at 
his watch, and supposed that it was bed-time. 

1 1 suppose so/ said his mother, collecting 
c 3 



20 STILL WATERS. 

her materials for work. Then she gathered the 
dying embers into a blaze, and added : ' Come 
and warm yourself; you must be cold sitting 
there/ 

f It is warm enough/ said Jasper; but he 
came nevertheless ; and, folding his arms upon 
the mantelpiece, he leaned his brow against 
them, looking as fixedly at the fitful blaze as if 
he could read his fate there. He seemed dis- 
posed to linger without making any effort to 
be sociable ; and when Mrs. Clinton attempted 
to rouse him from his abstraction, it was in 
a stiff, constrained manner, little likely to be 
successful. 

' Did the Lennoxes walk with you to the 
door, Jasper ? I thought I heard Isabel's laugh/ 

I Yes, they were all three there/ 

' Isabel seems to have great spirits/ 
' Sometimes. She is variable; but then they 
all spoil her/ 

I I thought/ said Mrs. Clinton, ' that David 
was his mother's favourite, and reigned para- 
mount in the house/ 

1 1 believe he does/ said Jasper, after a 
moment's pause ; ' and that it is only Ruth 
who is his slave, and Isabel's, and who does all 
disagreeable duties/ 



STILL WATERS. 2 J 

f You need not pity her/ said Mrs. Clinton ; 
' she is happy in having work to do, and doing 
it well/ 

f I do not pity — I am more likely to envy 
her/ said Jasper, briefly. ' Good-night, mother/ 
And he took up his candle and departed. 



23 STILL WATERS, 



CHAPTER III. 

In vain our pent wills fret, 
And would the world subdue, 
Limits we did not set 
Condition all we do — 
Born into life we are, and life must be our mould. 

M. Arnold. 

HPHREE weeks after this, Euth and her 
-*- sister met Jasper in the market-place. 
They had not seen him since the examination 
of the candidates for the scholarship began two 
days before, and now, walking according to 
custom with his eyes npon the ground, he 
would have passed them without recognition, 
if Isabel had not been less scrupulous than her 
sister in rousing him from his abstraction. 
1 Well, Jasper, how do you get on V 
( I do not get on at all/ said Jasper, with a 
laugh that rung hollow ; and, as he raised his 
head, Ruth saw the fixed crimson spot glowing 
on his usually pale cheek. i I do not get on 
at all, Isabel; I stand still. I broke down 
altogether in the viva voce, and my mathe- 
matical paper was almost a blank/ 



STILL WATERS. 23 

1 But they set one thing against another/ 
said Ruth, ' and David heard that you did well 
in classics/ 

* No success in classics can retrieve my 
failure to-day/ said Jasper. ' But it does not 
signify. I never expected it to be otherwise, 
and so there is no disappointment/ And he 
strode on as resolutely as if he were trampling 
down all the bitter and agitated feelings which 
belied his words. 

' I am very sorry for Jasper/ said Isabel, 
with a sigh j but Ruth neither sighed nor 
spoke, and their walk home was silent enough. 

Dr. Berkeley — c the Doctor/ as he was called 
by David and the other boys — was sitting with 
Mrs. Lennox. Isabel considered him far ad- 
vanced in years, though he was probably nearer 
thirty than forty. But the disparity in their 
ages was no doubt considerable. His dark 
hair was already silvered with grey, he wore 
near-sighted spectacles, and he was distin- 
guished by many of the peculiarities early 
acquired by men of literary and secluded 
habits ; he looked annoyed by the slamming 
of a door, and an undue proportion of cream 
and sugar to his tea disturbed his equanimity. 
And though fond of Isabel, and permitting her 



24 STILL WATERS. 

to take greater liberties with him than he 
allowed from any other person, he evidently 
regarded her joyons spirits, and wild nntntored 
ways, as an exercise of his patience rather than 
as a subject of admiration. 

With a half-uttered exclamation of satisfac- 
tion, Isabel recognised the Malacca cane, and 
the hat with brim of rather dignified breadth, 
lying on the hall table, and she danced into 
the room, interrupting without ceremony some 
remark, addressed in a confidential tone to her 
mother. 

1 Oh, Dr. Berkeley ! I am so glad to find 
you here, for it can only be to tell us that 
Jasper has got the scholarship, and I shall go 
and put him out of pain at once. We met 
him just now, looking so very wretched/ 

' His misery is premature, since the result 
of the examination is not yet made public/ 
said Dr. Berkeley. 

'No, but boys always think they know, 
though I am quite sure they are wrong this 
time, for Jasper certainly deserves it more than 
the others/ 

e I have a high opinion of Clinton/ said the 
Doctor, stiffly; 'but you must be aware, Miss 



STILL WATERS. 25 

Isabel, that moral character cannot be made 
the only criterion/ 

1 And so you "will have nothing to say to 
poor Jasper, though he is better than any of 
them, and cleverer too, David says ! That is 
too unfair V 

' My dear Isabel V said Mrs. Lennox, in an 
admonitory tone, which called the tears to 
her little daughter's flashing eyes, and the 
Doctor instantly took her part. 

' I am sure that I quite admire Miss Isabel's 
enthusiasm, and, though she spoke hastily, she 
cannot really believe that the examiners, who 
are able and honourable men, would make an 
unfair decision/ 

Isabel, however, was not very willing to 
hear her words explained away, and, hanging 
her head and pouting her pretty lips, she 
murmured — 

c I don't see why Oxford dons may not 
sometimes do wrong as well as other men. 
Though you have not answered my question, 
after all/ 

Dr. Berkeley repeated his former assertion, 
that the names were not given out; but 
Mrs. Lennox said with a smile — 



26 STILL WATERS. 

' You may trust to the little woman's dis- 
cretion, for she is not quite such a scatter- 
brain as she seems to be ; and she or Ruth are 
more likely to be able to answer your question 
than I am/ 

1 1 know I may trust Miss Ruth/ said Dr. 
Berkeley, doubtfully. 

' And not me V said Isabel, forgetting her 
ill-humour in eager curiosity ; c that is very 
hard. I can keep a secret from any one, even 
from David, and I believe that Ruth tells 
Jasper everything, because she is nattered by 
his speaking rather more to her than to the 
rest of the world. Not much, though, and 
she would never have had courage to ask him 
about his examination, if I had not been 
there/ 

( If Miss Lennox is in Clinton's confidence, 
it is more than I am/ said the Doctor, 
glancing at Ruth's deepening colour. ' I find 
it impossible to penetrate his reserve, and for 
that reason I came here to-day. He has 
rightly guessed that he failed in the examina- 
tion, and another has been elected to the 
scholarship. He must, therefore, relinquish 
the hope of going to college, and I am anxious 
to provide for him in some other way. I 



STILL WATERS. 27 

spoke to Mr. Dunn, who says there might be 
an opening for him in his office ; but I do not 
like to press him to make the offer, nntil I 
know whether it is likely to be accepted/ 

f A stupid clerkship V said Isabel ; ' and to 
Mr. Dunn, the stupidest of all the Holmdale 
attorneys ! David says that he is fit for better 
things/ 

'If David can procure anything better, I 
shall be delighted/ said Dr. Berkeley, drily; 
' but now I want to know if Miss Ruth can 
guess what Clinton's decision is likely to be/ 

Ruth's cheeks were still more deeply dyed, 
as she replied, after a moment's hesitation — 

' I do not exactly know, but I will try to 
find out/ 

The Doctor thanked her, and presently took 
leave, promising to call again in the evening, 
to ascertain the result of her inquiries. 

( And how are you to find out, Ruth, I 
wonder?' said Mrs. Lennox. 

1 1 suppose by going to Bean-street to ask 
Jasper/ answered Ruth, in a matter-of-fact 
tone which made her mother smile. 

' That is the straightforward way, certainly ; 
but the Doctor intended you to be diplomatic, 
and not to commit him or any one else. And 



28 STILL WATERS. 

you will be less likely to learn Jasper's real 
wishes if yon go to Bean-street, and unfold the 
matter before Mrs. Clinton/ 

' I know quite well already what he wishes, 
or, at least, what he does not wish/ said Ruth ; 
' and his mother may, and ought to help him 
to decide. So, mamma, if it would do to cut 
out David's shirts to-morrow, I will go at once, 
before I take off my things/ Mrs. Lennox 
made no farther objection, and she set off 
accordingly. 

Mrs. Clinton was not at home, and, on open- 
ing the door of the little parlour, Ruth found 
that the room was darkened, and Jasper asked 
who was there, in a voice betraying severe 
bodily pain. 

1 It is I, Jasper. Are you ill V 

e I have a headache/ said the boy, raising 
himself on the sofa. ' Why have you come, 
Ruth ? I suppose David sent you to tell me 
my fate — as if I did not know it already/ 

1 Yes, you have failed : I am very sorry/ 
said Ruth, sitting down beside him, and 
timidly laying her hand on his. But Jasper 
turned away, saying, in a stifled voice, as he 
hid his face in the pillows — 

'You need not be sorry, Ruth. I don't 



STILL WATERS. 29 

wish any one to care what becomes of me, for 
I shall only be a grief and disappointment. 
There is my mother — she does not know it 
yet, and when she comes home she will not 
say even so much as you do j yet she will feel 
it more/ 

f She knows that you have done your best, 
Jasper/ 

' Yes ; and great comfort there is in that, 
when the best I can do leaves me still dependent 
on her exertions. She has worked night and 
day to meet the school expenses, and this is 
the result/ 

This was a new disclosure to Ruth, who 
had often wondered what became of the em- 
broidery to which Mrs. Clinton applied with 
such assiduity. 

' I could bear it better/ Jasper presently re- 
sumed, ' if — if my mother were like yours. But 
I know that, while she has devoted herself to 
me, because she considers it her first duty, she 
is always longing for the time when she may 
leave me to support myself. And this I should 
have been able to do after my first year at 
Oxford/ 

' But why should she leave you, Jasper V 

' You cannot guess ? She has not forgotten 



30 STILL WATERS. 

the only passionate desire she has felt these 
many years — to find her way across the world. 
But for me, she would have been in Australia 
long ago, and when I first discovered this, I 
proposed that we should go together. But 
that, she said, might not be/ 

c No, I should think not/ said Ruth, as she 
pictured to herself the manifold evils which 
such a step must have entailed on one of Jasper's 
morbidly sensitive temper. ' And now, Jasper, 
there is an alternative which I do not so much 
mind telling you, though I am afraid you will 
not like it/ 

She proceeded to relate the object of the 
Doctor's visit, justified in anticipating that his 
distaste for such a vocation would be less de- 
cided than when the matter had been last dis- 
cussed between them. For, though he expressed 
no satisfaction, briefly saying, that if his mother 
had no objection, he should make none, his 
mind was evidently relieved by this definite pro- 
spect of independence. 

Mrs. Clinton came in as they were still 
talking, and Ruth could fully taste the bitter- 
ness of Jasper's voice, when he said — 

'"Well, mother, Ruth has come to tell me 
that I am — not a scholar, but a lawyer's clerk 



STILL WATERS. 3 1 

elect/ As he spoke, a throb of pain sent the 
blood to his temples, fading again as quickly, 
and leaving even his lips colourless. 

' Lie down, Jasper/ said his mother, turning 
to the window to darken the room still more ; 
' you will be neither scholar nor clerk if you 
excite yourself while your headache is so severe/ 
There was no expression of sympathy, no caress 
or soothing word, to soften the bitterness of 
the admission Jasper had made. This was all 
she said ; it was all her son expected, and only 
Ruth resented the cold, impassive manner. 

In truth Jasper was in no mood to endure 
condolence, and there was silence for a few 
moments, broken by Ruth, who said, apologe- 
tically — 

' I am sorry that I came, but I did not know 
that Jasper was ill, and ' 

( And the Doctor wanted his answer/ said 
Jasper. ■ Go and tell my mother about it in 
the other room. My head is too bad to think, 
and I could rather abide by her decision, and 
hear no more until it is settled/ 

Mrs. Clinton took Ruth into the adjoining 
room, and said, after waiting for some moments, 
in expectation that she would volunteer the ex- 
planation unasked — 



33 STILL WATERS. 

1 Well, Ruth, Jasper has referred me to you 
to explain his allusion to the clerkship/ 

Ruth's answer was given with sufficient dis- 
tinctness, although in an unsteady voice, and 
when she finished speaking, she raised her eyes 
to Mrs. Clinton's face with a shy, inquiring 
glance, endeavouring to ascertain the effect of 
her words. But she might as well have tried to 
read the expression of an iron mask, and Mrs. 
Clinton only replied by another question — 

' And what does Jasper wish ?' 

'AYill you not ask himself?' Ruth could not 
forbear replying, though almost alarmed by her 
own daring. 

I No/ said Mrs. Clinton ; f you can tell me 
more than I shall learn from him, since with 
you he is comparatively open/ 

I I know/ said Ruth, ' that it was his great 
wish to go to Oxford ; but, since that cannot be, 
he thinks it best to take the clerkship, and 
when he has recovered from the first disappoint- 
ment, I think that he may be happier than he 
was at school.' 

c Very possibly — and without attaining great 
felicity either; but is the disappointment so 
great? I imagined that, though he worked 
doggedly, it was on principle, and with little 



STILL WATERS. 33 

expectation or anxiety for success. However, 
you probably know more than I V 

Ruth knew not what to reply, embarrassed by 
the consciousness that Jasper had indeed be- 
stowed on her the confidence withheld from his 
mother, and Mrs. Clinton resumed, after a 
moment's pause, — 

f If the decision rests with me, you may 
thank Dr. Berkeley for his good offices, and 
assure him that they will not be rejected. But 
I will not force Jasper to take any step of which 
he may afterwards repent/ 

1 He will be best pleased to have the matter 
settled for him/ said Ruth ; and Mrs. Clinton 
answered with a sort of smile at her assured 
tone. 

1 Then you are willing to take the respon- 
sibility V 

' No, I did not mean that/ said Ruth, quickly. 

1 Nor did I imply anything so terrible that 
you need colour, and disclaim it. Jasper could 
not have a better guide, and to you such hap- 
piness is due as he, poor boy, has known/ 

Sad and thoughtful, Ruth returned home to 
inform her mother of the success of her mis- 
sion. Mrs. Clinton's emotions were of a more 
mingled character. A tremulous smile played 

VOL. I. D 



34 STILL WATERS. 

round her mouth, and there was a quivering of 
the proud dilated nostril, as she drew forth her 
husband's miniature from its case, and gazed 
at it long and fixedly, until her glazed eyes 
were dimmed with unwonted tears. And then 
she softly murmured — 

( At length the day of meeting is at hand, 
and we shall part no more/ 



STILL WATERS. 35 



CHAPTER IV. 

Still round, and round, and round 

Let us compass the ground. 

"What man is he who feels 

Any weight at his heels ? 
Since our hearts are so light, that, all weigh'd together, 
Agree to a grain, and they weigh not a feather. 

DAyEXAXT. 

NOT only Jasper's vocation in life, but that 
of Dayid Lennox, was decided in the en- 
suing Christmas holidays, and neither of the 
two friends returned to the grammar school. 
Dayid's determination to follow his father's 
calling would not yield to his mother's long- 
cherished hope that he might embrace a more 
peaceful profession; her unwilling consent was 
at last obtained, and he was to go to Sandhurst 
in the first week of January. 

Isabel rejoiced with unselfish heroism, stifling 
her regrets at the approaching separation from 
her darling brother, in bright anticipations of 
the laurels he was to win, and of the less distant 
prospect of seeing him in his Sandhurst uniform. 
The folio edition of Shakspeare lay undis- 

D 2, 



$6 STILL WATERS. 

turbed on the shelf, while all her spare moments 
were employed in netting him a purse — as 
great a labour of love as the first efforts of a 
young lady in fancy work are apt to be ; and 
when the task was at last accomplished, her 
purse was more expensive, less serviceable, and 
by no means so pretty as those which lay under 
glass cases on Miss Pinfold's counter. 

Kuth's sisterly affection took a more prac- 
tical turn. She made David's shirts; she 
hemmed his handkerchiefs; and she strove to 
cheer her mother's spirits, which flagged more 
and more as Christmas drew near. The con- 
dolence of their Holmdale acquaintance did 
not tend to make the separation less grievous. 
Dr. Berkeley's disapprobation was most openly 
expressed. He lamented the withdrawal of his 
favourite scholar, predicting that he would 
repent, when it was too late, of his boyish 
fancy for a red coat, which outweighed for the 
moment the brilliant prospects of distinction 
afforded by a learned education. Mrs. Dunn, 
whose boys were notoriously the ringleaders of 
every breach of school discipline at Holmdale, 
wondered how Mrs. Lennox could submit to 
expose her dear boy to the temptations of a 
public school ; and Mr. Ball, the medical man, 



STILL WATERS. 37 

doubted whether the inherent delicacy of his 
constitution would endure the hardships of 
active service or a tropical climate. Mrs. 
Lennox could make but one answer to all 
representations : — ' David's heart is set on the 
army, and I have consented/ But this could 
not prevent her brooding over the evils so good- 
naturedly offered for her consideration ; and 
Ruth was privileged to share all her anxieties 
and misgivings. 

It was an established custom, from the time 
they settled at Holmdale, that Jasper Clinton 
aud his mother, as well as Dr. Berkeley, should 
eat their Christmas dinner with the Lennoxes. 
It was the single exception to the rule of se- 
clusion so rigidly maintained by Mrs. Clinton, 
and the concession was made, as all knew, for 
Jasper's sake, who would not have consented 
on that day to leave his mother alone in her 
cheerless home. 

On this Christmas-day all went as before. 
The Doctor joined the young Lennoxes as they 
came out of church after the evening service, 
and hoped that their mother would excuse 
his going home to dress. Ruth satisfied his 
scruples with demure politeness, while Isabel 
and her brother exchanged bright rallying 



38 STILL WATERS. 

glances, because the former had threatened 
to give a negative reply, for the sake of ascer- 
taining how the Doctor looked when he was 
dressed, or if he really possessed an evening 
coat. But the question remained unsolved, 
for her courage failed when it came to the 
point ; and, in happy ignorance of the proposed 
impertinence, Dr. Berkeley turned his steps 
down the High-street. 

' The Clintons got out before us/ said 
David ; c but of course they will go home to 
dress. Jasper is so sensible of what is due to 
rank and station, that I expect him to come 
forth in a black satin stock, and a coral breast- 
pin. That is the correct uniform for a lawyer's 
clerk/ 

' I see/ said Ruth, colouring, ' that, on the 
strength of the epaulettes, which, however, you 
have not yet won, you are prepared to look 
down on your old friends, and make merry 
with their misfortunes/ 

f Very fair/ said the Doctor ; and before 
David could answer for himself, his defence 
was undertaken by Isabel. 

' Indeed, I think it is very unfair, Dr. 
Berkeley. It is not our fault that we have 
lately seen so little of Jasper, for when we are 



STILL WATERS. 



39 



out walking I have seen him cross over the 
street to avoid us. And as for making merry 
with his misfortunes ; you said yourself that it 
was very good fortune for Jasper to get into 
Mr. Dunn's office. I do really believe that 
you think it a finer thing to be an attorney's 
clerk than a soldier/ 

' I should be more likely to distinguish 
myself in the peaceful profession/ replied the 
Doctor ; ' but I am afraid that young Clinton is 
not of my mind. He is very unhappy, is he 
not, Miss Lennox ? When they had their first 
interview the other day, Mr. Dunn was dis- 
appointed by his dry, dispirited manner, — as 
if he was not going to his work with good 
heart. 5 

I I am sure that he will work steadily/ said 
Ruth ; f but he is still cast down by his failure 
the other day/ 

I I agree with Ruth/ said David. c I always 
envied Jasper the power of working doggedly, 
however little he liked the thing in hand. 
Small praise to him though, for I don't believe 
he likes anything, except, perhaps, our sage 
sister here. I did imagine that he had a 
sneaking kindness for me, but that is quite 
over. Only yesterday I wasted five minutes 



40 STILL WATERS. 

of the beautiful morning in trying to persuade 
him to come and skate on the Broadmeadows 
pool ; but there he sat, looking blue over the 
fire, aud would not stir. And he skates 
splendidly, and would quite have cut out the 
Dyne Court party/ 

' Oh, David, do you think so V exclaimed 
Isabel. f I never saw anything so neat as the 
figures cut by that boy — or young man, I 
suppose he was — in the heather-coloured cap/ 

1 Ah V said David ; ( he is a Sandhurst 
fellow/ 

' A nephew of Sir John's/ added Ruth ; 
1 so Clara Gascoigne told me. She was very 
proud of her tall cousin/ 

1 So the little heiress was there too/ said the 
Doctor. 

' Yes, sitting in the barouche, all wrapped 
in velvet and fur, and looking so delicate and 
pretty/ 

' Rather too delicate for beauty/ remarked 
David ; ' she looks like a wax doll, which might 
melt or come to pieces, if it were roughly 
handled/ 

Dyne Court was the great place of the 
neighbourhood, and the inhabitants of Holm- 
dale took an untiring interest in the sayings 



STILL WATEES. 4 1 

and doings of its owners. Even the Doctor, 
who was not addicted to gossip, was very 
willing to hear all which might be told of the 
only daughter and heiress of Sir John Gas- 
coigne ; but the discussion was brought to a 
close by their arrival at the door of the Ked 
House. 

On Christmas night Dr. Berkeley was 
claimed by the younger members of the party 
as their exclusive property, and since Mrs. 
Lennox had been more than usually unwell, 
and was unable to bear the distraction of 
many voices, they repaired to the little back 
room, usually designated as the study, soon 
after dinner, leaving her only with Mrs. Clinton. 
Dr. Berkeley was installed in the leather arm- 
chair which served as a centre for the group 
gathered round the fire, and the restraint 
imposed by Mrs. Clinton's presence, even more 
than by the fear of fatiguing Mrs. Lennox, 
speedily vanished. Even Jasper looked con- 
tented and almost happy, though his brow was 
again clouded by the first question addressed 
to him by Dr. Berkeley. 

' Well, Clinton, so you have had an inter- 
view with your new master V 

{ Yes, sir/ Jasper, unlike David, did not 



42 STILL WATERS. 

think fit to drop the school appellation in 
private life. ' He sent for me yesterday/ 

t And how did yon like him V 

( I have often seen him before, sir/ said 
Jasper; and David laughed at the evasive reply. 

' And familiarity breeds contempt — that is 
what Clinton means to imply/ 

' No, David, not at all/ said Jasper, quickly. 

' David and Miss Isabel/ observed Dr. 
Berkeley, f think fit to despise all those who 
do not appreciate their wit and liveliness, for 
there are no other grounds to look down on 
Dunn. He is an excellent man of business; 
and since it is evident that none of his scape- 
grace sons inherit his habits of application, it 
is a good opening for Clinton/ 

' I had not discovered the boundless range 
of the Doctor's ambition/ said David. ' Do 
you take, Jasper? He intends you to succeed 
to the business, and become agent and legal 
adviser to the heiress of Dyne Court. There 
is promotion for you V 

' I shall be a rich man before you have 
succeeded in buying your company/ said 
Jasper, forcing a laugh. As he spoke, a note 
was brought in, directed to Miss Lennox, in 
fair, though still childish characters. 



STILL WATERS. 43 

' From the little heiress herself/ said Ruth, 
as she broke the seal. ' It is the Gascoigne 
crest/ 

' Well, Miss Lennox, what does she say V 
said Dr. Berkeley ; and David bade his sister 
read the note aloud, to satisfy the Doctor's 
curiosity. 

' It is only an invitation/ said Ruth, ' and 
for your last day, David. We cannot possibly 
go/ 

' Let us hear what she says/ repeated David j 
and his sister complied with the request. 

1 My dear Miss Lennox, — Will you and 
your brother and sister come to our Christmas 
party on New Year's night ? We are to have 
a dance and fireworks, and, as the nights are 
so dark, papa thinks that you had better stay 
and sleep, and he will send the carriage for 
you. He wishes me to add, that it will give 
us great pleasure to see one or two of your 
brother's friends also. 

' Give my love to Isabel, and believe me ever 
f Your affectionate friend, 

1 Clara/ 

' Gentlemen are evidently at a premium/ 
said David ; i but they must be able to dance. 



44 STILL WATERS. 

though Miss Gascoigne is too polite to say so. 
Do you think that you can get through a 
quadrille without bringing me to disgrace, 
Clinton V 

f Not 1/ said Jasper. 

' We could easily teach you the figure/ 
observed Ruth ; ' but you would not enjoy the 
evening at Dyne Court without us. We were 
at the Christmas party last year, and there 
was not another person from Holrudale, only 
the county people, and a large party in the 
house/ 

1 1 am sure that we did not miss much in 
the Holmdale people/ said Isabel; 'it was a 
great comfort to have no one to speak to, and 
I liked to watch the fireworks, without being 
teased by people coming up to say how beau- 
tiful they were. And then Clara was so bright 
and pleasant/ 

' Ah, Miss Isabel/ said David, ' when will 
you take a leaf out of her book, and learn to 
say pretty things? I don't believe that Ruth 
will write half as neat a note in answer, and 
she is a year older than the little heiress/ 

' I shall go and ask mamma what I am to 
say/ Ruth answered, as she twisted the per- 
fumed envelope of the note in question round 



STILL WATERS. 45 

her finger ; ' and I may tell her that we none 
of us want to go/ 

' That you do not want to go/ said the 
Doctor. ' If the little lady on my right were 
allowed to speak the thoughts which look 
wistfully through her eyes, we might hear 
another story/ 

f I thought/ said Ruth, ' that of course 
Isabel would like to be at home on David's 
last night/ 

' So I should, for myself/ said Isabel, the 
passionate tears starting to her eyes, in her 
eagerness to disclaim such a want of sisterly 
affection as a contrary inclination might im- 
ply. ( So I should for myself, you know, Ruth ; 
but I was thinking that it might be a good 
thing for David to see something of that 
Sandhurst cousin/ 

f That is not a bad idea/ said David. ' He 
is a nice-looking fellow, and it would be worth 
while to learn the ways of the place/ 

( I will consult mamma/ said Ruth ; ' and I 
can stay with her, if you and Isabel go. And 
what would you like to do, Jasper V 

' Oh, he will like to go, of course/ said 
Isabel, as Jasper paused dubiously for a reply ; 
1 there will be no moon for our drive to Dyne 



46 STILL WATERS. 

Court, and I must wear white kid gloves j and 
that is a conjunction too favourable for star- 
gazing in conformity with his ideas to be thrown 
away/ 

While Dr. Berkeley demanded an explana- 
tion of the gibe, Ruth left the room to lay the 
matter before her mother. The interruption 
was not unwelcome to the two ladies, for the 
memory of their youthful intimacy only re- 
mained to impart additional constraint to their 
intercourse. Mrs. Lennox agreed with Isabel 
and David in their sense of the expediency 
of making acquaintance with the ( Sandhurst 
cousin/ and she relinquished the enjoyment of 
her boy's last evening as readily as if it in- 
volved no sacrifice. f It will break the parting 
to Isabel/ she said. Ruth's disinclination to 
leave her alone was also overruled, so that a 
note, very differently worded from the original 
design, was presently on its way to Dyne 
Court, accepting the invitation for themselves 
and Jasper Clinton. David declined to avail 
himself of the permission to bring any other 
of his schoolfellows. 

The Lennoxes were the sole exception to 
the rule which excluded the Holmdale gen- 
tility from the more aristocratic circle of Dyne 



STILL WATERS. 47 

Court. Sir John Gascoigne drew a marked 
distinction between them and the other towns- 
people, and he was not unwilling to foster the 
acquaintance with his daughter, who had few 
opportunities of associating with those of her 
own age. However, their intercourse had not 
been frequent, and the invitation was an event 
of sufficient importance to occupy a good deal 
of thought and rather absorbing speculation, 
which served to ward off the less pleasing 
prospect of David's departure. It was neces- 
sary to initiate Jasper into the mysteries of a 
quadrille ; and, though professing a surly in- 
difference to the whole affair, he came with 
great regularity for instruction, and passively 
submitted to Isabel's ridicule of his awkward 
gestures. 

'Now do look at me, Jasper/ Ruth said, 
with unwearied patience, one evening when 
Isabel attempted to distract his attention by 
introducing an entirely irrelevant pirouette 
into the figure. ' You must not attend to 
Isabel.' 

( It is of no use/ said Isabel, flitting past 
him ; ' you will never learn the Chaine des 
Dames j from the Trenise, if it does not come by 
nature. Admire David, who knows the graces 



48 STILL WATERS. 

by intuition — he positively dances like a 
Frenchman V 

' Yon foolish child V said David, bringing 
his glissade to an abrupt conclusion. f I will 
not dance at all, if you make such absurd 
remarks, and then you must go partnerless, 
for no one else will ask you/ 

' I shall forage for myself/ said Isabel. ' I 
mean to make Clara Gascoigne introduce me 
to the Sandhurst cousin, and I shall ask him 
to look after you, and see that you write at 
least once a week/ 

e If you do' — said David, but before he had 
determined by what terrific threat to enforce 
discretion, Ruth reminded him that mamma 
only waited until they had done talking to play 
another quadrille for them. 



STILL WATERS. 



49 



CHAPTER V. 

Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke 
The years to bring the inevitable yoke, 
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife ? 
Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight, 
And custom He upon thee with a weight 
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life ! 

WoEDSWOBTH. 

^PHE Gascoigne carriage was sent to Holm- 
-*- dale for the young Lennoxes and Jasper in 
such good tinie, that they arrived before any 
of the other guests, and neither Sir John nor 
such of the party as were staying in the house 
had made thfcir appearance. They were ushered 
into an empty drawing-room, but Clara soon 
appeared to welcome them from the long gal- 
lery opening out of it. 

( Oh, Miss Lennox ! I am so glad you have 
come first. I made papa send the carriage 
early on purpose. I must introduce my cousin 
to you. Evelyn V A tall stripling, with quick 
dark eyes, and regular features, answered to 
the summons. ' Here, Evelyn, this is Miss 
Lennox, Miss Isabel Lennox and Mr. David 

VOL. I. E 



50 STILL WATERS. 

Lennox, and Mr. Clinton, I suppose/ she 
added, in an aside to Ruth, who had not per- 
formed the duty of introducing Jasper with 
equal distinctness. 

' ^Yill you not come near the fire ? You 
must have had a cold drive/ said young Gas- 
coigne, following his cousin's lead in endeavour- 
ing to make himself agreeable to Isabel, and 
she exerted herself to reply, though her voice 
was low and timid. 

In her simple muslin frock and sash, her 
chestnut curls falling on her neck in heavy 
clusters, Isabel looked like the child she was, 
but a very pretty child withal, while Clara 
Gascoigne, although scarcely attaining her 
height, and still more slightly made, already 
wore the dress and air of a woman. She was 
rather over-dressed, in a flounced pink silk, set 
off by a profusion of ornaments, and her fair 
glossy hair elaborately braided ; yet the ani- 
mation which brightened the delicate beauty of 
feature and complexion, and the grace of all 
her actions, made it appear as if all she wore 
became her. 

Ruth appeared to less advantage in her even- 
ing dress than in the dark merino in which 
she was much more at home. At an age when 



STILL WATERS. 5 1 

the roundness of childhood is lost, and the more 
perfect symmetry of woman not fully gained, 
she was, if not positively ungraceful, at least 
wanting iu that perfect grace which was the 
single point of resemblance between Isabel and 
Clara. And even in this the contrast was 
marked, since Isabel's beauty was most appa- 
rent in the attitude of stillness and repose, 
when, as now, she stood leaning against her 
sister's chair, her clasped hands flung down, 
her dark eyelashes shading, for the most part, 
her glowing cheeks, yet now and then uplifted 
to disclose the light of those marvellous eyes. 
And in repose Clara was never seen • for, even 
when her small fairy-like figure was not darting 
from place to place, her hands were ever in 
motion, helping out her words with the ani- 
mated gestures of a Frenchwoman. 

Ruth had come unwillingly to Dyne Court ; 
she did not like leaving her mother; she was 
shy and discomposed at being thrown unpro- 
tected among strangers, and involuntary admi- 
ration of Clara was allied with disapprobation 
of a manner by no means in accordance with 
her rigid views of propriety. For if there is 
any disposition to be a severe censor, it is never 
more strongly developed than at sixteen. But 
e 2 



LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINGi 



52 STILL WATERS. 

it was amusing to see how all foregone con- 
clusions melted before Clara's influence; she 
hung about Ruth with caressing fondness, first 
addressing her as Miss Lennox, and then asking 
whether she might call her Ruth, and when 
Ruth said, ' Why not ?' she looked up with a 
saucy smile, — 

' You are so wise and good that I am almost 
afraid; for I know that you think me quite 
wicked/ 

1 How can you say so V said Ruth, sincerely 
disclaiming the imputation, and thinking her 
only winning and attractive. 

f I am glad that you don't quite give me up, 
for perhaps you may make me wise too, if you 
try. Come now/ she added, springing up, 'I 
must show you the gallery. I have been work- 
ing hard all day to deck it with evergreens, and 
that naughty boy would go out shooting instead 
of staying to help me.' 

She pointed to Evelyn, who replied in his 
defence, that he had helped her all the morn- 
ing ; and he appealed to Isabel whether he had 
not earned the right to amuse himself after 
luncheon, but she was too demure to express 
an opinion. He then suggested that she 
should follow her sister to the gallery ; and the 



STILL WATERS. j^ 

whole party availed themselves of the proposal 
to adjourn there. The clusters of glistening 
holly, rich with scarlet berries, had a very good 
effect j but Clara accused Ruth of being guarded 
in her admiration, and instantly demanded the 
reason. 

1 1 do admire it very much/ said Ruth ; f I 
am only sorry that it was not put up for Christ- 
mas, instead of for the ball. Now you have 
no right to call it Christmasing.' 

c That is so like one of Ruth's refinements/ 
said David, laughing, while Clara clasped her 
hands in mock despair. 

f Ah me ! I unwittingly imagined that my 
day had been usefully, at least harmlessly em- 
ployed, and now I find that all these branches 
of holly are wicked and hypocritical, and very 
demoralising.' 

' And 1/ added Evelyn, ' must congratulate 
myself on the good instinct which did not 
allow me to misuse more than half the day, 
and led me to spend the other half in pheasant 
shooting.' 

Ruth was ever more ready to hear her words 
misconstrued than to take part in an argument ; 
and though Isabel was less passive, she did not 
feel inclined to cope with the tall young man, 



54 STILL WATERS. 

who looked clever and satirical. Jasper, how- 
ever, who had not spoken since he entered the 
room, said with some spirit : — 

c It is not fair, first to extract an opinion from 
Ruth, and then to distort her words/ 

Clara looked up to the speaker, and ascer- 
taining that he was as old and at least as tall 
as her cousin Evelyn, she considered him not 
unworthy of attention. 

( I am glad/ she said, with a bright smile, 
' that you have the grace to stand up for Ruth, 
for it was very unchivalrous of the other two 
gentlemen to take part against her. And I 
like excessively to hear her wise sayings, so 
long as I am not expected to understand them/ 

' You did not put up all those great branches 
yourself/ said Ruth. 

f Not with my own hands. I was only the 
master mind ; and after Evelyn's base deser- 
tion, I was forced to be content with hired 
services. Smith was so tiresome, always telling 
me that the branches would interfere with the 
lighting, and that the house would burn like 
tinder; and now you see that he has left two 
of the candles in that bracket unlighted ; but I 
shall go and ask papa whether there is any 
danger/ 



STILL WATERS. 5$ 

Sir John Gascoigne had just made his ap- 
pearance at the opposite end of the gallery, and 
his little daughter danced down to meet him, 
and presently returned to report the success 
of the appeal. 

( Papa says I may light those candles if I 
don't mind the risk of burning the house 
down, and I don't mind at all \ for it would 
be rather amusing to build a new one. But 
I cannot do it myself, and I am afraid to ring 
for Smith, so will you help me ? Not you, 
Evelyn; you are not tall enough to be of any 
use— but Mr. Clinton/ 

Evelyn stepped back, looking as if he did 
not relish the imputation on his height, while 
Jasper Avas duly gratified by the distinction 
awarded to him, and executed Clara's behests 
with alacrity. It was, perhaps, as well that 
he was too busily engaged to hear what passed 
between Ruth and Sir John. 

' So that is young Clinton/ he said. ' Dunn 
tells me that he has taken him into his office 
on Dr. Berkeley's recommendation. The poor 
young man's unhappy position entitles him 
to compassion; and I shall be glad to afford 
him every encouragement in my power.' 

Ruth was not, perhaps, sufficiently grateful 



$6 STILL WATERS. 

for Sir John's offered patronage, and it was 
Isabel's turn to be next affronted. He took 
her by the hand, asked if that was Ruth's little 
sister, and added — 

'Ah, qu'elle estjolie!' 

' I could have beaten him !' Isabel presently 
declared in an indignant aside to David. 

Sir John w T as a large man, still energetic in 
field sports, though indolent in most other 
things ; he was good tempered and rather 
pompous, proud of his place and family, and 
passionately fond of his little daughter. He 
now called Ruth's attention to Clara's graceful 
attitude, as she stood poised on the lowest 
rung of the steps which Jasper had mounted 
to effect the desired alterations; and Ruth, 
whose eye could take in the whole group, 
noted the eager solicitude with which he bent 
down to receive her commands. 

The party now began to assemble, for the 
sound of other arrivals summoned those guests 
who were staying in the house from their re- 
spective rooms. 

( They are all aunts and cousins,' Clara in- 
formed Ruth j ' and there is not one of them 
I care about except Evelyn.' Evelyn was, 



STILL WATERS, 57 

however, still in disgrace. Sir John had ruled 
that she was to open the ball with Lord 
Raebum, a shy, ungainly youth, who did not 
appear to be sensible of the honour. Evelyn 
had engaged Isabel for the first dance, and he 
wished his cousin to promise him the second, 
but she was not disposed to favour the request. 
1 1 have not quite forgiven you yet/ she said ; 
1 and I am not sure that I shall dance with 
you at all, — certainly not so early in the 
evening/ 

' Will you dance with me, [Miss Gascoigne V 
said David, colouring, as Clara's eyes strayed 
towards him and Jasper, who stood together. 

' I shall be very happy/ she answered, 
lightly, before she flitted away, leaving Jasper 
rather provoked that he had wanted courage 
to make the same request. 

f Though, perhaps, it was as well let alone/ 
he observed to Ruth, c as I dance so badly/ 

' As well as your neighbours, I suspect/ 
said Ruth ; ' and I think she meant you to 
ask her/ 

1 Do you V said Jasper, brightening j c then 
I shall try to find courage in the course of the 
evening, though it will be worse than Beauty 



58 STILL WATERS. 

and the Beast. After which remark, I am 
afraid it is no great compliment to ask you to 
be my partner now/ 

c I shall like it very much/ said Ruth, 
simply ; and they went to join the set which 
was just forming. 

When the music, mingling with the hum of 
voices, assured Isabel that her remarks could 
only be heard by the person to whom they 
were addressed, she ceased to be so much 
afraid of her tall partner. Although it was 
alarming to be treated with as much deference 
as if she were a young lady, it was not at all 
disagreeable, especially as Sir John had just 
assumed that she was such a child as not to 
mind, or not to understand a compliment in 
French. Evelyn asked what was her favourite 
book, and the comprehensive answer of ' Shak- 
speare' led to a pleasant discussion of various 
plays. He was not so well read in them as 
herself, but he had seen many of them acted : 
and when he found that Isabel had never been 
to a theatre, he gave a vivid description of its 
delights. As she became more at ease, she 
ventured to speak of David ; and, though Eve- 
lyn did not at first know who f David' was, he 
seemed to be sensible of his good fortune in 



STILL WATERS. 59 

the acquisition of such a schoolfellow, when 
Isabel pointed him out. 

' He is so lithe and active, that he must be 
good at all games, — just the sort of fellow to 
get on at school/ 

c Yes, that he is, — and then he is so clever/ 
said Isabel; but she stopped short, remem- 
bering David's warning against any indiscreet 
confidence respecting him, and presently adding, 
with some trepidation : c Would you mind 
telling him about Sandhurst ? for then it will 
not be all strange to him/ 

' I will have a talk with him as soon as the 
quadrille is over/ said Evelyn, readily ; ' and 
then he can claim acquaintance at our bar- 
racks. Although I cannot be of much use to 
him there, for I am near the top of the tree, 
and expect my commission in six months/ 

' I hope/ said Isabel, ' that by the time 
David is an officer there may be some glorious 
war, and then he may be chosen to lead a for- 
lorn hope/ 

1 That is a Spartan wish/ said Evelyn, laugh- 
ing, ' and it would be echoed by few of the men 
who go into the army in these days of peace. 
They choose the profession in order to lead an 
idle, pleasant life, living in good society, and 



60 STILL WATERS. 

seeing a little of the world at the expense of 
the nation/ 

' If that were all/ sa id Isabel, with kindling 
eyes, ' David would never be a soldier. He 
only seeks honour and glory/ 

' Well/ said Evelyn, lightly, ' he must start 
as a reformer, and infuse a fresh spirit into the 
army/ 

Isabel was not quite satisfied, but the qua- 
drille came to an end, Ruth joined her, and 
young Gascoigne went to fulfil his promise of 
having a talk with David. David pronounced 
him ' a very nice fellow' when he returned to 
ask his sisters if they could give him any tidings 
of his partner, now that the waltz was begun. 
Clara was descried by Ruth, and she and David 
were soon whirling round. So were Evelyn 
and Isabel : Jasper could not waltz, and Ruth 
had not the option of refusing, for no one 
asked her. She sat rather disconsolately turn- 
ing over a book of prints in the background, 
while Jasper remained in the outer ring, impa- 
tiently waiting for the conclusion of the waltz, 
since he had summoned courage to claim 
Clara's hand for the next quadrille. 

To a request, not very gracefully made, 
Clara very graciously acceded, perhaps because 



STILL WATERS. 6 1 

she was gratified by the homage which it 
evidently cost an effort to pay; perhaps, also, 
because she was in haste to anticipate Lord 
Raeburn's movements, who was being reluc- 
tantly brought up by his mother on the same 
errand. Jasper came with great satisfaction to 
inform Ruth of his success. ' I wish/ he said, 
' that you would arrange to be in the same set 
as ours, for then you can set me right if I 
make a mistake/ 

f If I am in any set at all, I will try to be 
in yours/ answered Ptuth. But, as she had 
anticipated, she remained unsought in her re- 
treat, while Isabel was carried off in triumph 
by one of three school-boys, who were despe- 
rately smitten with her beauty. The two un- 
successful rivals sulkily declined to dance at all, 
and remained sparring in Ruth's neighbour- 
hood, until she thought it advisable to change 
her position. Securing a seat which com- 
manded a view of the dancers, she was suffi- 
ciently well amused. Clara danced beautifully ; 
Jasper acquitted himself with great credit, and 
both were talking gaily, the habitual melan- 
choly of Jasper's expression quite lost in the 
animation of the moment. Ruth was pleased 
with his pleasure, yet her pleasure was marred 



6% STILL WATERS. 

by a scarcely acknowledged pang of jealousy, 
or wounded feeling, that the smiles which she 
had latterly found it so hard to win should be 
freely lavished on another. 

' Oh, Ruth !' said Isabel, coming up to her 
sister at the conclusion of the dance, her cheeks 
still flushed with excitement, ' there is to be 
no more dancing before supper, as we are to 
get cool in time for the fireworks. And do 
you know I am almost sorry/ 

' That saving clause of ' almost' is put in 
for consistency's sake/ said Ruth ; ' you were 
afraid that the stupid dancing would take up 
the whole evening/ 

c But I never thought that I should have 
such pleasant partners. I like Clara's cousin 
very much, and Gerald Courtown is rather a 
nice boy, though I can't think why he asked 
me to dance, for he does not know the figure 
in the least.' 

If Gerald did not know his way through a 
quadrille, he was quite competent to guide his 
partner to the supper-room, and he came to 
carry her off, leaving Ruth still sitting on the 
fast-emptying benches. Jasper brushed by her 
without observing that she looked forlorn; but 
a word from Clara, who also saw her in pass- 



STILL WATERS. 63 

ing, sent Evelyn Gascoigne to her side, and 
they went in together. Ruth, who had not 
before exchanged words with him, was less 
sensible of his attractions than Isabel had been. 
His manner was slightly supercilious, and an 
undefined impression that he adapted his con- 
versation to what he conceived to be her 
tastes and opinions, awakened the instinct of 
opposition. Yet he was certainly agreeable, 
expressing himself with a terseness and preci- 
sion very unusual at his age; and when he 
declared that Isabel and his cousin Clara were 
the rival beauties of the evening, Ruth's sisterly 
affection was gratified, even while she felt in- 
clined to be offended. 

Isabel cast rather wistful glances towards 
Ruth, envying her position, since she was in 
the centre of a riotous group of school-boys, 
scuffling behind her chair for champagne and 
cold chicken, and her partner's energetic at- 
tempts to enforce order only increased the 
clamour. Jasper imagined that every one 
must envy him, for he was still by Clara's side, 
and she talked alternately to him and David 
Lennox, who sat opposite, wholly neglecting 
her other neighbour, Lord Raeburn. She was 
only confirmed in this caprice by an admoni- 



64 STILL WATEES. 

tion from Evelyn's mother, Mrs. Gascoigne, 
that it was ill-bred to distinguish the Lennoxes 
and their friend with such exclusive preference, 
when there were so many of the county people 
present. 



STILL WATERS. 65 



CHAPTER VI. 

Alas ! I have nor hope nor health, 

Xor peace within, nor calm around, 
Nor that content, surpassing wealth, 

The sage in meditation found, 
And walk'd with inward glory crown'd ; 

Xor fame, nor power, nor love, nor leisure. 
Others I see whom these surround — 

Smiling they live, and call life pleasure : 
To me that cup has been dealt in another measure. 

Shelley. 

A RUMOUR that the exhibition of fireworks 
-^*- was about to begin caused a general rush 
from the supper-room, and Isabel was at liberty 
to rejoin her sister, which she did with an 
eagerness which provoked Evelyn's observa- 
tion. 

'1 saw/ he said, 'that you were not quite 
happy in your mind, and at one moment I 
nearly came to the rescue/ 

( The boys were rather rude/ said Isabel. 

1 As boys are apt to he. 3 

' Not all boys/ said Isabel, confidently. 
David was, of course, the ruling exception, and 

vol. 1. F 



66 STILL WATERS. 

now she thought that Evelyn might fairly 
be considered as another, though he was far 
from having intended to include himself in a 
class to which he assumed no longer to belong. 
He remained to cloak and shawl such of the 
ladies as were disposed to go into the colonnade, 
while the boys, and others also who had ex- 
changed their round jackets and falling collars 
for elaborate ties and evening coats, were 
already thronging round the knot of dusky 
figures which was the centre of attraction. 
Even Jasper had been carried away by the 
stream, but he returned before Clara had time 
to be very grievously offended by his defection, 
to say that he had found a sheltered angle in 
the colonnade, where Miss Gascoigne would 
have a much better view than from the draw- 
ing-room windows, if she were not afraid of the 
cold. 

Miss Gascoigne was not at all afraid, and 
Isabel had already given her voice in favour of 
the colonnade. 

' It would be quite horrid/ she said, ' to go 
back to a candle-light room/ The other young 
ladies, or at least their prudent mammas, were 
of a different opinion, and Clara, Ruth, and 
Isabel were presently ensconced in the place 



STILL WATERS. 6 J 

selected by Jasper, only accompanied by him- 
self and Evelyn. Of David they saw no more, 
though Isabel occasionally caught the clear, 
joyous tones of his voice, rising above the rest, 
in persuasive, but fruitless eloquence. Old 
Jeremy, the gamekeeper, was inexorable in his 
determination to allow none of the young gen- 
tlemen to meddle with his stores, blackening 
their fingers with gunpowder, spoiling the effect 
of his Catherine-wheels, or possibly maiming 
themselves for life. 

Few things of men's invention are prettier 
than good fireworks, and Isabel held her breath 
in silent admiration, and was rather annoyed 
by Clara's incessant flow of words. After 
exhausting all the superlatives which the 
English language could supply, she had re- 
course to French, and the exclamations of 
{ superbe ! magnifique P were varied by inter- 
jections of terror if a rocket chanced to shed 
its shower of sparks in her neighbourhood. 

' We had better go in, if you are afraid/ 
said Ruth, gravely, for she was always intole- 
rant of anything approaching to affectation. 

' My dear Ruth V exclaimed Clara, c you are 
too severe ! You do not understand that I like 
being frightened. It is a pleasant sensation, 

F 2, 



68 STILL WATERS. 

like walking on the edge of a precipice,, or 
being in a storm at sea.' 

' I cannot imagine that any one would be 
more unhappy in either situation/ said 
Evelyn. 

'You are determined to say disagreeable 
things/ said Clara, turning away with a pretty 
air of displeasure ; ' you, and Ruth, and Isabel 
too, by her eloquent silence. I shall not 
speak to any of you. Mr. Clinton, do you 
think me silly V 

1 Not at all/ said Jasper ; and the answer 
was so far sincere, that he thought such 
graceful folly more engaging than wisdom. 

' There again V exclaimed Clara, as another 
rocket burst in what she conceived to be dan- 
gerous vicinity. ' I know we shall all be burnt/ 
1 You need not be afraid/ said Jasper ; ' I 
will keep on the windy side, so as to shelter 
you from all sparks/ 

It did not escape Ruth's notice that the 
protection which Jasper afforded to Clara, 
without thinking it necessary to extend it 
to herself and Isabel, was rendered compara- 
tively superfluous, from the fact of her wearing 
a silk dress, and being, moreover, fully en- 
veloped in a cloth cloak. But she felt that the 



STILL WATERS. 69 

throb of pain which attended this discovery 
was unworthy, and she was only annoyed that 
Evelyn Gascoigne should make the same 
remark. 

1 My cousin/ he said, sarcastically, c must 
be infinitely indebted to your gallantry, and I 
can do no less than imitate it on behalf of the 
Miss Lennoxes, who run much greater risk in 
their muslin dresses/ 

( I cannot imagine/ said Isabel, f why you 
should talk about such an absurd thing as 
danger when you ought all to be looking at the 
fireworks. I don't at all want you to come 
between me and the sparks, thank you, for I 
cannot see so well/ 

The exhibition ended all too soon for Isabel's 
wishes, though others thought that the warm 
light which streamed invitingly through the 
long range of gallery windows might be more 
agreeable than the chill air of a winter's night. 
It was necessary, however, to collect the boys 
before dancing could recommence, and Clara 
sent Jasper to summon them, promising to 
await his return. Ruth also lingered with 
Isabel, who enticed her to walk to the farther 
end of the colonnade, in hopes of thereby 
obtaining a view of Orion, which was now 



70 STILL WATERS. 

hidden from their sight by a projecting block 
of chimneys. 

Jasper faithfully delivered his message, 
which did not obtain the least attention ; and 
he had almost rejoined Clara in the dark 
corner where he parted from her, when his 
progress was arrested by the words, spoken in 
no measured tone, by Evelyn Gascoigne : — 

f You must wait for Mr. Clinton ? I sup- 
pose you know who this young Clinton is, of 
whom you make such a hero — a clerk in 
Dunn's office, and son of the man who was 
transported for forgery/ 

f And what then V said Clara, with a slight, 
scornful laugh. 

What then, indeed ? Jasper's heart beat 
wildly ; but his first impulse, to spring forward 
and deny the charge, died away in the con- 
sciousness, that only in the truth of these 
words their bitterness consisted. He ground 
his teeth, and clenched his quivering hands, 
and turned away, to fly he knew not whither, 
for he could not fly from himself, nor from 
that withering sense of despair and hopeless 
dishonour — most terrible to the young, since 
then the pulses are full of life, and passion 
has not learnt to yield her sway to reason. 



STILL WATEKS. J I 

Dark as it was, and hasty and uncertain as 
was his tread, Ruth recognised his figure when 
he was passing the lower end of the colonnade ; 
and she stepped off the pavement to the gravel 
walk to meet him. 

'Where are you going, Jasper? — the boys 
are all at the other end, under the gallery/ 

Jasper impatiently shook off her hand. ' I 
was not looking for the boys. I do not want 
them, or any one/ 

At this moment the clear tones of Clara's 
voice rang through the frosty air ; ' Ruth, 
Isabel, will you not come in ? It is too cold to 
wait any longer for Mr. Clinton/ 

Ruth bade Isabel go, promising to follow 
soon, and then she said, timidly, — 

' I cannot bear to leave you so, Jasper. Will 
you not tell me what is the matter, and if I 
can do anything to help you V 

( Have I asked for help V said Jasper, fiercely ; 
but as soon as the bitter words had passed his 
lips he was ashamed of his impatience with one 
who was uniformly gentle and forbearing, and 
he resumed, in broken accents, ' It is best not 
to trouble yourself about me, Ruth ; it can do 
me no good, and you only harm. I am a fool ; 
and that is all. To-night, for one happy hour, 



72 STILL WATEES. 

I fancied that I might be as others, free and 
careless, and then the fact of my degradation, 
my blasted name, was forced upon me, and it 
drove me almost wild/ 

1 But who/ said Ruth, ' would have spoken 
such cruel words V 

( They were spoken of me, to Miss Gascoigne/ 
said Jasper, and Ruth knew how much this 
last circumstance must have aggravated their 
bitterness. She could give sympathy, even if 
more definite means of consolation were want- 
ing, saying, with tremulous earnestness, — 

' It must seem hard, for there is no pain so 
dreadful as that of shame/ 

' And how should you know, Ruth, who have 
never tasted its bitterness ?' 

e I must know, in a measure/ said Ruth, 
' because the shame which follows is the great 
misery of all sin. But there is this difference, 
that when we do wrong we bring the punish- 
ment on ourselves, but this is sent/ 

' And does that make it more easy to bear V 

' It ought to do so/ said Ruth, steadfastly, 
' since we have the promise that no trouble is 
greater than we are able to endure/ 

There was silence for a few moments, broken 
by the sound of music, and Jasper looked up, 



STILL WATEBS. J$ 

and could see the gay figures flit past the 
windows. 

' You had Letter go in, and join them/ he 
said. 

' Not without you, Jasper/ 

f I don't intend to go in at all : I almost 
think I shall walk home/ he answered ; but he 
was not proof against Faith's entreaties, and they 
presently entered the gallery together. They 
went down the country dance with a gravity and 
decorum which must have been quite edifying 
to the Gascoigne ancestry, who looked down 
from the walls in starched severity, since gravity 
and decorum were not the order of the day. 
Clara, who was dancing with her cousin, was 
full of wild gaiety; nor could shyness lay any 
restraint on Isabel's 'spirits while David was 
her partner, and very merry they were. 

It did not escape Clara's observation that 
something was amiss with Jasper, especially 
since he continued to shun her after the con- 
clusion of the dance, and as soon as she was at 
liberty she came up to Ruth. 

' Can you tell me what is the matter with 
Mr. Clinton ? I have a horrible suspicion that 
an illiberal sentiment of Evelyn's reached his 
ears when we were standing in the colonnade. 



74 STILL WATERS. 

There ! I see by your face that I have guessed 
right ; and now what is to be done ? Shall I 
go and tell him that I am not responsible for 
what Evelyn says? and that I don't care 
whether he is a double-dyed attorney or the 
son of twenty forgers ? or do you think it would 
hurt his feelings ?' 

' I am afraid it would/ said Ruth, smiling, 
yet half-vexed; 'but he might be pleased to 
hear the same thing from me/ 

' Then tell him by all means ; say, that I 
shall be miserable until I know that he has 
forgiven me ; I should like to dance with him 
again, only there is no use making any more 
engagements, since I am engaged three deep, 
and the people are beginning to go already. 
Yes, papa, I am coming/ * And she flitted away, 
in obedience to Sir John's summons to come 
and take leave of some of the people in question. 

Jasper lost no time in rejoining Ruth. 

1 1 am sure/ he said, ' from Miss Gascoigne's 
manner, that she was speaking of me.' . . 

' Yes ; she fancied that you might have heard 
what her cousin said, and she was anxious to 
explain that she did not agree with him, or 
think that that should make any difference in 
your position here/ 



STILL WATERS. 75 

' Did she really say so V exclaimed Jasper, 
brightening. 

1 Yes, really, Jasper. And I believe that 
you will find the same thing said by others 
whose opinion is of more importance than 
Clara's.' 

' There is no one whose good opinion I should 
care so much to win. Do you not admire her 
beauty, Ruth ? And there is a spring and joy- 
ousness about her, as if sorrow could not touch 
her/ 

e I do not know if that is any privilege/ said 
Ruth, thoughtfully, c and not rather a peril. 
Unlike Isabel, who, with all her spirits, has 
that strong, passionate nature which cannot go 
through life without suffering, and that is a 
great safeguard/ 

' But she is not spoiled/ said Jasper ; ' and 
there is something very fascinating in that care- 
less, light-hearted gaiety, all the more so to me 
because I have never tasted it/ 

' If people are not light-hearted out of levity/ 
said Ruth. 

' And that/ replied Jasper, warmly, ' I am 
sure Miss Gascoigne is not. You must allow 
that it showed real consideration to be so 
anxious to heal the wound which she had not 



j6 STILL WATERS. 

made. But I think that you are inclined to 
judge her harshly/ 

' I did not intend to do so/ said Ruth, her 
heart swelling, because she was conscious of not 
being wholly guiltless of the charge, since the 
more Jasper insisted on her praises, the less 
freely her response would come. 

' Only think/ continued Jasper, ' of the gifts 
showered upon her, — her beauty, her talents, 
and her position in the world, and see how her 
father idolizes her. And yet she is absolutely 
without pride/ 

' What I think of most/ Ruth answered, ' is 
the loss which outweighs all these blessings, in 
her never having known her mother. It is 
enough to account for the little faults which I 
cannot help seeing. Yet I hope you will not 
think me harsh, Jasper, for indeed I do like 
and admire her very much.' 

Jasper was satisfied with this admission, but 
Ruth was not. She continued thoughtful and 
preoccupied; and Evelyn Gascoigne, who from 
a little distance had noted the grave discussion 
with some amusement, presently approached to 
inquire what weighty question in philosophy 
Clinton had failed to solve. 

' We were not talking philosophy/ said Ruth. 



STILL ^VATERS. 77 

' It was something abstruse, I am sure : 
people do not generally look so grave in a ball- 
room/ 

' I bad forgotten that we were in anything 
but a crowd/ said Ruth, naively ; ' and that, 
every one says, is as good as a desert. There 
is hardly any one here whom I know by sight/ 

* What a courageous avowal, Miss Lennox. 
I felt ashamed of confessing myself to be in 
the same forlorn plight/ 

1 1 don't know why you should be ashamed 
of anything so obvious/ said Ruth. ' I sup- 
pose that the neighbourhood is new to you ; 
and I do not know any one, because these are 
all county people, and we know scarcely any 
one out of Holmdale/ 

Evelyn thought this confession still more 
courageous than the former, but he had already 
discovered the element of truthfulness in Ruth's 
character which repelled a compliment, and he 
held his peace. 

The spirited efforts of a few could not pre- 
vent the ball from dying a natural death, and 
as Isabel's heavy eyes betrayed how unused 
she was to late hours, Clara took her and Ruth 
to their room at once. T >Yhen there, Isabel 
became suddenly wakeful, and she lingered long 



78 STILL WATERS. 

over the fire, discussing every particular inci- 
dent, until she arrived at the conclusion, ' that 
it would have been quite a perfect evening but 
for remembering every now and again that 
David is to go to-morrow — and I never wished 
him good night/ For David, considering that 
it would compromise his dignity to kiss his 
sisters before such an august assembly, had 
taken care to keep out of the way when the 
young ladies retired. 



STILL WATERS. 79 



CHAPTER VIL 

I know a maiden fair to see : 

Take care ! 
She can both false and friendly be : 

Beware ! beware ! 

Trust her not, 
She is fooling thee ! 

She gives thee a garland woven fair : 

Take care ! 
It is a fool's cap for thee to wear : 

Beware ! beware ! 

Trust her not, 
She is fooling thee ! 

H. W. LOXGFELLOW. 

r\AYID went to Sandhurst, and for three 
-*--' days it seemed that Isabel was in danger 
of sharing the fate of Henry L, which makes 
such a deep impression on the minds of all 
youthful readers of EDglish history, and would 
never smile again. But on the fourth day she 
began to amend, and by the end of a week her 
spirits had nearly attained their usual pitch, 
which was some degrees higher than that of 
other people; a happy reaction, to which the 
necessity of having to resume the school-room 



80 STILL WATERS. 

routine, on the return of her daily governess 
from a Christmas holiday, probably conduced. 
Still she firmly believed that nothing but 
David's letters, and the prospect of the holidays, 
could have enabled her to support life with 
such exemplary resignation. 

Jasper took his allotted place at a desk in 
Mr. Dunn's office ; and he likewise thought 
that only strong resolution could have recon- 
ciled him to the endurance of such irksome 
drudgery. Yet habit and necessity are also 
elements of patience, and, although it was little 
consonant to his tastes to copy papers in com- 
pany with two other young men, whose greater 
technical knowledge entitled them to assume 
superiority to one of far higher intellectual 
powers, he soon learnt to adapt himself to his 
position. His work was done with the regu- 
larity of a machine, and in his intercourse with 
his fellow clerks there was something also of 
mechanical courtesy, so that he made himself 
respected without being much liked, either by 
them or by Mr. Dunn, while he himself con- 
cluded that in such a life there was less to 
suffer if there was also less to enjoy than in 
his school career. 

The two who had not professed so near an 



STILL WATERS. 8 1 

interest in these several events were perhaps 
more powerfully affected by them. Mrs. Lennox 
missed her boy sorely, and she was not, like 
Isabel, sustained by a spring of buoyant spirits, 
so that she found it difficult to shake off the 
depression and languor of ill-health, from which 
his presence had never failed to rouse her. She 
relied on Ruth to spare her all troubles, to 
share all anxieties, and to cheer her with 
thoughtful words; and Isabel was a pleasant 
plaything, but she still lacked the sunshine of 
David's smile. Ruth, on her part, found that she 
had lost Jasper almost as completely as David, 
since they ceased to be school-fellows; such 
intercourse as they had was by no means so 
satisfactory, and she felt the change a good 
deal. 

It had been a- close and very pleasant friend- 
ship ; in which, though younger in years, she 
had taken the lead in giving comfort and 
counsel, since, as is generally the case, her 
woman's mind had arrived first at maturity. 
Ruth was not exacting, Jasper by no means 
demonstrative; but still she had been happy in 
the consciousness that she was his first object, 
how happy she knew not until the charm was 
broken. He did not frequent the house as for- 

VOL. I. G 



8 3 STILL WATERS. 

meriy, nor join the sisters in their walk. It 
was not surprising that he did not care to talk 
of his work, since there is less to say of law 
papers and title-deeds than of Sophocles and 
Horace; but neither did he take any interest in 
those communings on graver matters in which 
they had formerly been equally occupied. He 
had but one theme for his private conferences 
with Ruth — the praises of Clara Gascoigne. 

The impression made by Clara's liveliness 
and beauty on the evening of the Christmas 
party had not been effaced by his slender 
opportunities of continuing the acquaintance 
thus begun; and he was soon absorbed by a 
boyish passion as intense in its character as 
any to which those of riper years may be sub- 
ject. Of course, if a man or boy is so ill 
advised as to fall in love at eighteen, his friends 
and relations must resign themselves to a fair 
proportion of concomitant folly, although Jas- 
per's habitual reserve saved him from any 
notorious extravagances. To such as took any 
interest in his proceeding, — and those com- 
posing the society of Holmdale were far from 
remiss in exercising a purely benevolent super- 
vision of their neighbours' affairs — it seemed 
very judicious that he should insist so much on 



STILL WATERS. 83 

the practice of starting for a brisk walk as soon 
as ever he was released from his desk, and 
only Ruth knew how little variation there was 
in his route or in how short a time he con- 
trived to reach the park-gates of Dyne Court 
by the nearest footpath, to linger there for the 
chance of seeing the carriage whirl past, even 
though it might be too dusk to distinguish 
Clara from her French governess. Or some- 
times he turned into those parts of the grounds 
which were open to the public, since from one 
point he obtained a view of the house, in which 
range after range of small, old-fashioned win- 
dows began to show the light of fire or candle; 
and he pleased himself by fancying which of all 
these rooms was graced by Clara's presence. 
Returning from his solitary walk in the foggy 
twilight, his evenings were given to study, 
either at home or with the Doctor, who, unwil- 
ling to relinquish his hold on a favourite pupil, 
had offered help, of which Jasper gratefully 
availed himself; and thus his days were fully 
occupied without any of those spare corners of 
time which used to be filled up pleasantly 
enough in the society of David and his sisters. 
Ruth was only secure of seeing him on those 
afternoons when the Dyne Court carriage 

G 2 



84 STILL WATERS. 

had been seen in Holmdale. It was seldom 
there without setting Clara down at the Red 
House; and if the carriage was at the door 
when Jasper left the office, he hovered near 
for the sake of obtaining a passing nod or 
smile from Clara as she left the house, and 
then he hurried in to hear the news from 
Ruth. From none did he desire his day 
dreams to be more carefully concealed than 
from the young lady herself; and it is possible 
that, if he had been aware that she divined the 
truth, and was more nattered than offended by 
such presumption, the knowledge might have 
gone some way towards dispelling the illusion. 
Ruth, at least, was only irritated by the air of 
demure unconsciousness with which Clara ever 
inquired after c Mr. Clinton/ and seemed sur- 
prised that she so rarely met him when he 
called. And Jasper's passion was of a chi- 
valrous and high-wrought character, nourished 
by solitude and an anxiety to escape from the 
humiliations of his daily life, which so fretted 
his impatient spirit, through bright but visionary 
dreams. 

Clara persisted in carrying on one of those 
odd, one-sided friendships which will some- 
times thrive and prosper under every dis- 



STILL WATERS. 85 

couragement. To no one was Ruth more 
unbending, or her disapproval of all which fell 
short of her high standard of duty more openly 
expressed, yet still Clara caressed and confided 
hi her, and asked for advice which she did not 
follow, and admired principles which she could 
not grasp. In return for such lavish affection, 
Ruth sometimes seriously applied to the task 
of confirming these impulses for good; but she 
soon desisted from an attempt as hopeless as 
it might prove to weave a rope of sand. 
Clara's thoughtless levity seemed to render 
her simply incapable of earnestness of purpose, 
and love of admiration was her only abiding 
principle. Yet her sweetness of temper and 
playful grace were very attractive; and she 
seldom parted from Ruth without leaving her 
remorseful for her harsh judgments, especially 
when the visit was followed by one of Jas- 
per's rhapsodies, since these ever left a sore, 
impatient place at her heart, to warn her 
how unfitted she was to give an unbiassed 
opinion. 

' Although/ she thought, ' I could have borne 
to lose Jasper, if Clara had been worthy of 
him/ And then she smiled to herself, as 
she wondered what the world would say to 



86 STILL WATERS. 

that view of the disparity between Jasper Clin- 
ton and the heiress of Dyne Court. 

It was with a holiday-feeling, which she 
was ashamed to own, that Ruth heard Clara's 
lamentations over the annual move to London 
at the end of January. Clara was incon- 
solable ; she was certain that she could not live 
without her dear Ruth; she hated London, 
and wished that the Queen were despotic, and 
that there were no such things as parliaments. 
Ruth defended limited monarchies, and was 
inclined to regret that her Majesty could dis- 
pense with the attendance of her faithful 
Commons for nearly half the year. But, at 
all events, she was free till August ; and before 
Clara returned she might have adopted a new 
friend, and Jasper might have forgotten his 
first love. As for Jasper, he had some con- 
solation under his aggravated misfortunes. The 
six months' separation would not only put his 
constancy to a sublime test, but add something 
to their respective ages, which they could very 
well afford. In the autumn Clara would attain 
her sixteenth year, and he would not be far 
from nineteen; and, although he considered 
that he had made a decisive stride towards 
manhood in the last few weeks, there were 



STILL WATERS. 87 

moments when he felt uncomfortably young, 
particularly when he was trying to shave, or 
to persuade his hair not to sit like a school- 
boy's. 

' How you must miss Miss Gascoigne/ he 
said, sauntering into the study at the Red 
House the day after the grand move from 
Dyne Court had taken place. In no humour 
for a brisk walk to-day, he was not ill pleased 
to find Ruth sitting there alone, engaged in 
preparing work for the school ; and while 
vigorously tearing strips of calico, it was 
natural that she should not make a full reply. 
But Jasper thought that her assent was cold 
as well as brief. 

1 What a horrible noise you are making V 
he said, discontentedly. ' Is it absolutely neces- 
sary to carry that on by way of accompani- 
ment V 

( Does it set your teeth on edge V said 
Ruth, pausing for an instant. ' I know some 
people hate the sound ; but I really am in a 
hurry, for I promised to take the work to the 
school this afternoon, and mamma does not 
like me to be out after dark alone/ 

' What has become of Isabel V 

1 She is in the drawing-room with mamma, 



88 STILL WATERS. 

nursing a cold, so that I have no one to keep 
me company/ 

' Yon may have me, if yon like/ said 
Jasper ; ' I have nothing better to do/ 

Ruth coloured with pleasure and embarrass- 
ment, doubtful whether to accept the offer; 
for she was just old enough to be troubled by 
proprieties, and a great tribulation they were. 

' 1 should like it very much, Jasper, but I 
am afraid that it would bore you. I may be 
kept at the school; and then mamma wants 
me to call on Mrs. Dunn and Miss Perrott, so 
that there will not be much time for a walk/ 

' A round of morning visits ! — that certainly 
will not suit my ideas. And now you are going to 
torment my ears by bringing forth a fresh bale 
of calico. It is really too much/ He made 
his escape, but put his head in again at the 
door, to say, 'Will you call and see my 
mother in the course of your walk ? She said 
something about wishing it at breakfast this 
morning/ and he set off, after all, on the 
old track to Dyne Court. In the absence of 
the family he might roam through the place 
without restriction ; and he considered that it 
might be profitable to feed his melancholy by 
looking at the deserted house. 



STILL WATERS. 89 

Faith continued her work as diligently, if 
not with so much spirit as before ; and when 
it was completed, and tidily packed into a 
basket, she put on her Sunday bonnet, and 
set forth with her mother's card-case to fulfil 
the social duties which Mrs. Lennox was 
always obliged to perform by deputy. Ruth 
had purposely chosen an afternoon when Isabel 
could not accompany her, finding that she only 
increased the difficulty of getting through her 
visits with credit. For Isabel was apt to sit 
in an attitude of despairing resignation, her 
eyes fixed upon the clock, until the ten minutes 
had expired, beyond which she stipulated that 
Ruth must not extend her stay; and then she 
suddenly recovered her animation in an attempt 
to convey the fact to her sister by sundry 
telegraphic signals. 

1 1 really cannot help it/ she was apt to 
say, when rebuked for such transgressions of 
decorum; ' people are so tiresome — sending 
for sweet biscuits as if I were a baby, and 
asking how I get on with French. And every 
one in Holmdale is so dull and commonplace, 
not at all like the people we find in books ; 
nor even pretty and well dressed, like those 
we met at Dvne Court/ It was in vain to 



90 STILL WATERS. 

bring forward a list of c really nice persons/ 
headed by the Doctor. Isabel only shook 
back her curls, after her fashion, when unwil- 
ling to confess that she had the worst of the 
argument, and retorted that Ruth must allow 
that the Doctor was not in the least like 
Hamlet — no, nor even Saladin in the Talisman. 



STILL WATERS. 9 1 



CHAPTER VIII. 

You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant : 
But yet you draw not iron, for my heart 
Is true as steel. 

Midsummer Night's Dream. 

TITRS. DUNN was at home, and Ruth re- 
-*■«■ placed the card which she had half-drawn 
from the case, and followed the maid with the 
sinking of heart which always seized her when 
ascending any stair but her own. She was a 
great hypocrite, for she enjoyed the reputation 
of being a sweet girl, with such a pretty man- 
ner, — much more formed than was generally 
the case at her age, — and yet she was in truth 
sufficiently fastidious, and much afflicted with 
shyness. 

Mrs. Dunn was a little fair woman, with a 
soft voice, and a mind wholly absorbed by the 
baby for the time being ; generally an uninte- 
resting specimen, fat and placid, although sure 
to atone for its want of animation in early life 
by starting full fledged into mischief when re- 
leased from the nursery. The schoolboys, 



02 STILL WATERS. 

senior and junior, were the bane of the Doc- 
tor's existence, and Ruth did not think that 
the two boys who lay kicking on the door-mat 
were likely to redeem the character of the 
family for sense or subordination when the 
time came for exchanging their gambroon 
frocks for jackets. Mrs. Dunn and the baby 
were in peaceable possession of the drawing- 
room, and it was necessary that this subject 
should in the first instance be exhausted. The 
cap was taken off to show the bald head, the 
frock thrown back to exhibit the small pink 
feet ; Ruth was desired to observe ( its dear 
little nails,' and she was permitted as a great 
favour to handle the little bale of muslin. 
She acquitted herself very well, until she 
rashly ventured from the safe generalities of 
the neuter pronoun into an attempt to define 
the gender, and asked if she was vaccinated. 

' My dear Miss Lennox ! You did not know 
that it was a boy ! Surely you must remem- 
ber his christening on the Sunday after Christ- 
mas, with Dr. Berkeley for one of the god- 
fathers — poor little George Augustus Frederic' 

Ruth was relieved when George Augustus 
Frederic became so discomposed by all the at- 
tentions he received that it was necessary to 



STILL WATERS. 93 

banish him to the nursery, and Mrs. Dunn was 
able to give her mind with less distraction to 
the topics of the day. In Holmdale the move- 
ments at Dyne Court ever took precedence of 
other matters, and accordingly the Gascoignes' 
departure was discussed at some length. Ruth 
could better endure commiseration for the loss 
of her friend from Mrs. Dunn than from 
Jasper, but she was annoyed at having to 
repel the curiosity which she was too discreet 
to satisfy. Mrs. Dunn was anxious to ascer- 
tain on such good authority whether Miss Gas- 
coigne was not spoiled, and if it was true that 
Sir John was ( rather high/ 

( I think/ said Ruth, colouring, c that Mr. 
Dunn sees more of Sir John than I do/ 

'Yes/ Mrs. Dunn responded; 'but that is 
only in the office, or on business, which is a 
different matter ; although I must say that no- 
thing can be more handsome than Sir John's 
manner/ She did not care to confess that 
Mr. Dunn was even more impenetrable than 
Ruth in his reserve as to all which concerned 
the affairs of Dyne Court. 

The mention of the office determined Ruth 
to hazard an inquiry respecting Jasper; but she 
did not gain much satisfaction on this point. 



94 STILL WATERS. 

'Yes,' Mrs. Dunn said, f I believe that Mr. 
Dunn is pleased with him, at least he has said 
nothing to the contrary. He brought him in 
to dinner one day, and he seemed to be a good 
sort of young man, only grave and silent, and 
not near so fond of children as Mr. Dunn's 
other young men, Bryce and Pearce. Poor 
Jack, all in fun, fastened the skirts of his coat 
round his chair, so as to make him look foolish 
when he got up, and he really seemed quite 
annoyed/ 

Ruth could easily understand that Jasper did 
not much enjoy becoming the subject of Dunn 
junior's practical jokes; and as she was unable 
to say anything complaisant, she made no reply. 

e Jack says/ resumed Mrs. Dunn, ' that he 
was just the same at school, morose and un- 
sociable ; but perhaps Jack is scarcely a fair 
judge, for he has such a noble spirit that he 
cannot forget poor Clinton's unfortunate story. 
And then he had the reputation of being one of 
the Doctor's favourites — he and your brother 
David, which gained him ill-will. And, by the 
way, do tell me how your brother is getting 
on.' And Ruth was very glad to do so, instead 
of angling any longer for the good opinion of 
Jasper, which she had intended to extract. 



STILL WATERS. 95 

The other visit was to Miss Perrott, an 
elderly lady in straitened circumstances, who 
lived in apartments over the bookseller's shop. 
There the range of conversation was even more 
limited. Miss Perrott took little interest in 
her neighbours' affairs ; but she liked to pour 
her grievances into a sympathising ear — to 
enlarge on her landlord's delinquencies in re- 
fusing to cure the smoky chimney or renew 
the faded chintz, or to indulge in reminiscences 
of bygone days, when she was young and rich 
and happy. Ruth was so good a listener as 
to be ever a welcome visitor, and she made 
her escape with difficulty, walking down the 
street with an additional shade of gravity on 
her thoughtful brow, while she pondered how 
cheerless life becomes when it is occupied only 
by present cares or fleeting memories. 

Possibly the visit which still remained to be 
paid had as much to do with her gravity as 
that which was accomplished. It was growing 
dusk, but Bean- street lay only a few steps out of 
her way, so that she had no sufficient excuse for 
delaying to comply with Mrs. Clinton's desire to 
see her. And Mrs. Clinton evidently considered 
that the delay had been long enough, greeting 
her with the remark that she had come at last. 



<)6 STILL WATERS. 

' It was only this afternoon/ Ruth answered, 
' that Jasper told me yon wished to see me/ 

1 Ah V said Mrs. Clinton, in that prolonged 
note which expresses dissatisfaction, and she 
presently explained the canse. ' I don't think 
yon see so much of Jasper as formerly/ 

'Not quite so much. His time is more 
taken up than it was, and then he used to come 
about the house with David/ 

( True, but more out of friendship for you 
than David, though he liked him very well in 
his way. Perhaps, however, you are as well 
pleased to let the friendship drop, now that he 
is only an attorney's clerk/ 

Ruth's heart swelled at the injustice of the 
imputation, and she answered quickly : — 

f Jasper, at least, knows us too well to be- 
lieve that that w T ould make any difference/ 

' I am glad of it/ said Mrs. Clinton, smiling 
a little at her warmth ; c selfishly glad. For, if 
you were to cast him off, Jasper would be nearly 
friendless, and I should not be justified in 
leaving him, as I now propose to do. You 
have done much for him, Ruth, and may still 
do more ; he needs sympathy to give him a 
motive for exertion, and he will sink into in- 
dolence and hopeless depression if he thinks 



STILL WATERS. 



97 



that there is none to note his struggles against 
an untoward fate. And -will you refuse the 
charge V For it did not escape her observation 
that Ruth recoiled a little from the severe 
earnestness of these words. 

Ruth's tears never flowed freely, yet her lip 
quivered, and her voice was low and tremulous 
as she replied : — 

( I have been friends with Jasper since first 
I knew him, and it is not likely that I should 
change/ 

( You mean that the change is more likely 
to be on his side. It may be so ; but no 
passing fancy will interfere with your influence 
in the day of real trouble and perplexity, and 
even when he stands aloof, you will have much 
unconscious power, if only you will be patient 
and bear with him. He will have something 
to endure, poor fellow, when my departure is 
known in the town ; there will be a revival of 
old stories, and many wise conjectures about 
the present ; but they will die away and be 
forgotten, and then he will stand alone, with 
nothiDg to recall the associations of dishonour, 
of which he is so keenly sensible, — for I shall 
return no more/ 

Ruth wondered that the mother's voice should 

VOL. I. H 



98 STILL WATERS. 

not falter while she spoke of this final separa- 
tion from her only child ; bnt she understood 
how a stronger passion had overruled, the in- 
stincts of maternal love, so that she even now 
resented the feelings of humiliation with which 
Jasper bore his dishonoured name, as an undue 
deference to the world's opinion, and in some 
sense an injustice to the memory she so fondly 
cherished. 

It was nearly dark when Ruth reached home ; 
and she sat down as usual on the low seat by 
her mother's sofa, to impart such amusement as 
might be gathered in pleasant firelight talk, from 
the precocity of Mrs. Dunn's baby, and from 
Miss Perrott's standing grievances, reserving her 
account of the visit to Bean-street until later in 
the evening, when Isabel was gone to bed. 

' Poor Barbara V said Mrs. Lennox, much 
interested in the intelligence ; e so she is really 
going to join her husband, who is not likely to 
prize her heroic devotion as it deserves. When 
I saw them together, his admiration of her 
beauty, which was then very remarkable, seemed 
to be the only source of his attachment ; and 
of that these years of suffering have made such 
havoc that scarcely a trace remains. I doubt 
whether he has a heart to be touched bv her 



STILL WATERS. 99 

unshaken constancy ; and since the superficial 
polish of his manner must have long since been 
worn away by a sense of degradation, and the 
character of his associates, he will probably 
reward the sacrifice with indifference/ 

' And she does not know that it is a sacri- 
fice/ said Ruth. ' Jasper told me some time 
ago that his mother was only waiting to go 
until she felt justified in leaving him, and that 
she was eager for that day to come/ 

' It is strange/ said Mrs. Lennox, ( but I 
never understand Barbara. She seems to be 
more open with you than with any one else, 
Ruth. Did she send for you for the sake of 
telling you of her plans V 

c And to have a talk about Jasper. She 
hopes that we shall look after him when she is 
gone/ said Ruth, colouring, so that Mrs. Len- 
nox could guess to whom the charge had been 
especially committed. She looked annoyed, 
and said, after a moment's pause, — 

' Mrs. Clinton can hardly leave Jasper to us 
more completely than she has hitherto done ; 
but I hope that she does not exaggerate, either 
to you or herself, the influence which you pos- 
sess. Indeed, it is not desirable that the same 
relations which did very well so long as you 

H % 



IOO STILL WATERS. 

were boy and girl together, should continue now 
that you are growing up/ 

Ruth understood the implied caution, which 
she would have resented from any but her 
mother. As it was, she turned her glowing 
cheek aside, while she answered in a constrained 
voice, — 

1 1 know ; and we see very little of Jasper 
now/ 

( So I have observed, dear/ said Mrs. Len- 
nox, tenderly; ' and I dare say you miss the 
companionship; but it was wise and right of 
Jasper to draw back, if he found that there was 
any danger of your old relations acquiring a 
different meaning. Of course, with his almost 
exaggerated sense of his unfortunate position, 
he must be fully aware 3 

' I don't think you quite understand, mamma/ 
said Ruth, interposing, when Mrs. Lennox 
paused to collect all the reasons she might im- 
pute to Jasper for crushing an incipient passion ; 
' you don't understand Jasper if you are think- 
ing that he is at all likely to care for me in that 
way. I should have thought that he was too 
young to fall in love at all, but he only talks 
to me of her, — I must not tell her name, as I 
think he would not like it/ 



STILL WATERS. 101 

1 Certainly, it would be a betrayal of confi- 
dence/ said Mrs. Lennox, more relieved than 
she cared to own by this information, as well 
as by the frank simplicity with which it was 
imparted. f I did not think that he was so 
susceptible ; but he may fall in love, and be as 
constant as he pleases, though he can scarcely 
aspire to marry for ten years to come. And 
so my little Ruth has shared the fate of other 
sisters, real or adopted, and is forced to abdi- 
cate in favour of a first love. It is very mor- 
tifying/ 

' Rather/ said Ruth j * except that now, 
mamma, you will see no harm in my promise 
that we would do what we could for Jasper/ 

I Xo ; you could say no less ; and when 
Barbara is gone, we must try and get him to 
come about the house as he used to do. You 
did not tell me when she is to go/ 

I I believe in about six weeks. They give 
up the house in Bean-street at Lady-day, and 
she is to settle Jasper in lodgings before she 
goes, and sell off the furniture/ 

' To pay her passage out to Sydney, I sup- 
pose/ said Mrs. Lennox. ' I hardly know how 
they have lived all this time on the pittance 
awarded to them by Mr. Clinton's creditors/ 



103 STILL WATERS. 

' She seems to intend to leave all there is to 
Jasper/ said Ruth. ' She said that she had 
made some engagement which would give her 
a free passage, and that she had no doubt of 
finding means of maintaining herself abroad/ 

Mrs. Lennox listened, and admired the spirit 
of stern self-sacrifice with a heart softened to- 
wards the friend of her early days; but she 
was again chilled by the cold and passionless 
manner with which she repelled any allusion 
to her intentions, when they met a few days 
afterwards. Yet Ruth thought this reserve 
less alarming than the comparative openness 
which Mrs. Clinton had evinced towards her- 
self; and she shrank from any opportunity for 
its renewal, even while treasuring her words in 
her inmost heart with a timid hope that she 
might fulfil the trust committed to her. 



STILL WATERS. 103 



CHAPTER IX. 

Cleo. Get thee hence. Farewell. 

Clown. I wish you all joy 0' the worm. 

Cleo. Farewell. 

Clown. You must think this, look you, that the worm 
will do his kind. 

Cleo. Ay, ay. Farewell. 

Clown. Look you, the worm is not to be trusted, but 
in the keeping of wise people ; for, indeed, there is no 
good in the worm. 

Antony and Cleopatra, 

AS Mrs. Clinton had foreseen, the rumour 
which spread early in March, that she 
had given np her house and was about to pro- 
ceed to Sydney, caused a sensation in Holm- 
dale. Martha, her sole servant, was, if pos- 
sible, still more austere than her mistress, so 
that the fact only transpired when Jasper ap- 
plied to Mr. Dunn for leave to absent himself 
from the office for a few days, in order to 
accompany his mother to Plymouth. Mr. 
Dunn went home and told his wife, and the 
news quickly circulated. Many of those who 
had of late relinquished the attempt to keep 



J04 STILL WATERS. 

up any intercourse with Mrs. Clinton, con- 
sidered it expedient to pay a farewell visit; 
but the attention was not appreciated, at least 
by Martha, who opened the door with a defiant 
air, and returned the invariable answer that 
her mistress was too much engaged to see 
visitors. When thus baffled, the more ener- 
getic in the pursuit of knowledge bent their 
steps to the Red House, where there was a 
chance of obtaining further intelligence. Mrs. 
Dunn was among the number, so unusually 
excited by curiosity, that she could scarcely 
reply to any inquiries after the baby. 

i I suppose, [Mrs. Lennox, that this news 
about Mrs. Clinton is no news to you?' 

Mrs. Lennox admitted that she had been 
informed of her intentions some time ago. 

1 Well, I must say that I am glad it was 
known to any one ; for the mother and son 
are just alike — so very close. Only imagine 
young Clinton's having said nothing about it 
to the other young men 1 / 

f It is hardly surprising/ said Mrs. Lennox ; 
c even with us Jasper has been little disposed 
to speak of what must necessarily be a painful 
subject/ 

' Well/ rejoined Mrs. Dunn, ' it certainly is 



STILL WATERS. IO^ 

shocking when one comes to think of it. As 
I told Mr. Dunn, I hoped that he did not 
think it my duty to leave the dear children, 
and go across the world, just for the sake of 
seeing him working in chains like a galley 
slave. Indeed, I really could not do it.' 

' Happily/ said Mrs. Lennox, repressing with 
difficulty an inclination to join in Isabel's 
infectious laugh at this vision of Mr. Dunn 
working in chains ; ' happily, you are not 
likely to be placed in such a dilemma.' 

' But, mamma,' said Isabel, recovering her 
gravity, ' do you suppose that Mr. Clinton 
does really work in chains ?' 

' No, my dear ; I believe that precaution is 
only taken in the case of desperate criminals ; 
and, after so many years' exile, he is probably 
under merely nominal restraint.' 

1 But do tell me, my dear Mrs. Lennox,' 
said Mrs. Dunn, becoming confidential, and 
therefore affectionate, ' do tell me if you think 
that Mr. Clinton has used any threat to com- 
pel his poor wife to join him. I am sure that 
she cannot have resolved to go and live among 
all those dreadful convicts of her own free 
will.' 

Before Mrs, Lennox could reply, Dr. Berke- 



106 STILL WATERS. 

ley came in. He looked guilty when he found 
that Mrs. Dunn was before him, since he was 
unwilling to be suspected of an inclination to 
gossip, veiling the weakness even from himself 
beneath the convenient name of a benevolent 
interest in the welfare of mankind in general, 
and of Holmdale in particular. So he sup- 
pressed the real object of his visit until Mrs. 
Dunn took leave, asking after his godson, and 
discussing the antecedents of the new mathe- 
matical master until Mrs. Dunn took leave. 
Then he demanded whether there was . any 
truth in the report that Mrs. Clinton had 
given up her house in Bean-street, with an 
assumption of dignified indifference, which 
Isabel was so wickedly disposed to rally that 
she anticipated her mother's reply. 

'Are you really going to ask about the 
Clintons, Dr. Berkeley ? How we have had 
all professions here to-day, all asking the same 
question — soldier, sailor, tinker, tailor, gen- 
tleman, ploughboy, apothecary, thief/ 

1 My dear Isabel V said Mrs. Lennox ; but 
the rebuke might as well have been spoken to 
the winds. 

' Yes, mamma, really ; I don't count Mrs. 
Dunn, since she came chiefly to ascertain her 



STILL WATEES. 107 

duty if Mr. Dunn is ever so unfortunate as to 
be hung in chains ; but first came Captain 
Dennis, the United Service, as David calls 
him, because he went into the militia when 
he left off going to sea. Then I heard the 
man who came to meud the passage window 
in close confabulation with Sarah about it. 
Mr. Taylor stopped us as we came home from 
our walk ; and, for want of a better, he must 
serve for a gentleman as well as a tailor. 
TVhen I was helping old Job to prick out the 
lettuces, he made so bold as to ask if Jaspers 
mother was going to transport herself; and 
then Mr. Ball came, so full of the news that 
he never even asked mamma how she was. 
So you see that I was only in difficulty for a 
thief/ 

' Well/ said the Doctor, with a grave sim- 
plicity, which was no less diverting, because it 
was difficult to determine whether it was as- 
sumed ; ' since you have made out so good a 
case, I suppose that I must be the thief/ 

1 No ! — will you really ? That is too obliging. 
I must write and tell David ; and that reminds 
me to show you his last letter, — such a long 
one. But no one now cares for anything in the 
world except Jasper and Mrs. Clinton/ 



108 STILL WATERS. 

1 Well/ said Mrs. Lennox, c I wonder that 
you do not care a little for Jasper, considering 
how long we have known him/ 

' So I do care, mamma/ returned Isabel, 
subdued for an instant; c every time I see Jasper 
I should like to tell him how sorry I am, only 
he looks so grave that I do not dare. And 
you see that, after all, David thinks he may do 
better without his mother/ 

' And what David says is of course con- 
clusive/ said the Doctor. 

It was at least equally a thing of course that 
Isabel should accept the remark as a defiance. 
1 Why, I don't know who should be a better 
judge. But I have changed my mind, and 
shall not show you David's letter ; you are not 
worthy of it, since you always carp at what he 
says.' 

c What has become of Miss Ruth ?' said the 
Doctor, without caring to refute the charge ; 
and Mrs. Lennox observed, with a smile, — 

1 There, Isabel, he could say nothing more 
severe ; he wishes for peace and rational con- 
versation, and so he thinks of Ruth.' 

' I am too mighty for him, that is all/ re- 
plied Isabel, fearlessly. ( However, I will call 
Ruth, who is in the study, and tell her that we 



STILL WATERS. 109 

are secure from any more visitors now that we 
have got down to the thief. She took refuge 
there because every one appealed to her for in- 
formation about Mrs. Clinton/ 

1 It was rather trying/ said Mrs. Lennox ; 
' but now you can go and tell her that there is 
no one here but the Doctor/ 

' I am going/ said Isabel ; ' for I see that 
you want to get rid of me, and I can keep 
Ruth out of the way by reminding her that 
procrastination is the thief of time. For she 
wants to finish her bag for Mrs. Clinton/ 

She pounced upon a volume of the Faerie 
Queene, which had almost supplanted Shak- 
speare in her affections ; and after lingering for 
a moment to give and claim a caress from her 
mother, she sprang away, only rewarding the 
Doctor for his politeness in rising to open the 
door for her by an arch defying glance. 

' I am afraid that she is but a spoiled mon- 
key/ said Mrs. Lennox, pleadingly; ' yet she is 
sometimes sedate enough, and I have not the 
heart to check such a spring of youth and 
spirits/ 

f One can hardly believe that there is only 
three years between the sisters/ observed Dr. 
Berkeley. ' I do not recollect that Miss Ruth 



IIO STILL WATERS. 

was ever young enough to — to say those sort of 
things/ 

With a half smile, Mrs. Lennox suggested 
that there might be a difference in disposition 
as well as in age. ' And I cannot/ she added, 
' wish that Isabel should grow old faster than 
she does, for it is pleasant to have something 
young about the house. Indeed, I would 
rather see Ruth's sixteen years sit more easily 
upon her. When I look back, it seems as if 
she had had no youth — the earnest tone of her 
mind still deepening, and thoughtful care for 
others leaving no space for natural gaiety.' 

' She has chosen the better part/ the Doctor 
said, musingly, and then he changed the sub- 
ject. Now that he was safe from Isabel's 
raillery, he wished to ascertain the truth about 
the Clintons; and she would have triumphed if 
she had been there, for his opinion coincided 
with David's, that Jasper might get on better 
alone. 

Meanwhile Ruth sat in the study, working 
diligently at her travelling-bag, and Isabel had 
coiled herself into the window-seat, now read- 
ing a few snatches about ' faire Una/ and now 
entertaining her sister with an account of the 
Doctor's complaisance in submitting to his new 



STILL WATERS. Ill 

name. c Ah V she presently exclaimed, as the 
twilight deepened, ' this is the time when I so 
miss David. How he nsed to scamper along 
the pavement, and shout out good-night to some 
of the other boys, as he pushed up the latch. 
And there is some one at the door now/ 

' It is Jasper/ said Ruth ; ' but he has quite 
left off opening the door with the orthodox 
grammar-school kick, and so I suppose will 
David when he comes back. Just run out, 
Isabel, and tell him we are here, for I think he 
would rather not see the Doctor to-night/ 

Jasper profited by the warning, and took re- 
fuge with the sisters. He looked ill and un- 
happy, with no superfluous words at command; 
so that it was difficult to say for what he had 
come, unless it was to sit with folded arms on 
the high old-fashioned fender. As he only said 
yes and no at random to the questions ad- 
dressed to him, the girls resumed their several 
occupations, and silence reigned for some time, 
until he roused himself to ask, ' Shall you finish 
the bag to-night, Ruth V 

c Yes ; I am putting in the last stitches now : 
you can take it back with you, if you like/ 

( Very well. AYe are to be off to-morrow, 
as my mother finds she can be ready; and it is 



112 STILL WATERS. 

better to wait a little while at Plymouth than 
to run any risk of missing the ship/ 

f To-morrow/ repeated Ruth. ( I had no 
idea that it was to be before Wednesday, and 
we hoped to see Mrs. Clinton again/ 

f It would have done no good; she is 
harassed and worried, and anxious to be gone; 
and the only thing which delayed her is satis- 
factorily arranged. I shall not have to look 
for lodgings, since Martha, who is a woman of 
capital, has settled to take on the house and 
me together. I am to keep the two rooms 
on the ground-floor, and she will look out for 
another eligible lodger/ 

' That is a comfortable arrangement/ said 
Ruth. ' Martha will keep you in order, and see 
that you eat your meals at regular hours, and 
don't sit up too late at night ; and she will 
deprive me of my proposed occupation of sew- 
ing on your shirt buttons/ She looked up, 
and sought in vain to win an answering smile. 
Jasper's brows were drawn together, and she 
added, gently, c I am afraid your head aches/ 

'A little/ he replied, turning impatiently 
aside. He took up the cover of a letter 
which lay on the mantelpiece, and asked with 
awakened interest bv whom it was directed. 



STILL WATERS. 113 

Isabel anticipated her sister's reply. ' By 
Clara Gascoigne, of course. It is very well for 
Ruth that she has no other correspondent; 
she answers Clara's letters with the greatest 
exactness, but it is such a labour of love. She 
is always nibbing her pen, and coming to a full 
stop; and I believe that she takes longer to fill 
three sides of a sheet of paper than Clara does 
to run off her five pages/ 

( Does Miss Gascoigne write such long let- 
ters V 

1 Yes, and they are very amusing. She had 
heard from her cousin that he liked David very 
much. Have you got her letter, Ruth V 

'Yes, I think so/ said Ruth, but she did 
not produce it. The maid appeared to say, 
that she had taken in the urn, and Ruth 
entrusted her sister with the keys, promising 
to follow as soon as she had finished her bag. 
Jasper waited until it was completed, and Ruth 
put it into his hand with a timid hope that it 
might be useful to his mother. But Jasper 
heard with inattentive ear, and it presently 
appeared with what his mind was preoccu- 
pied. 

' Ruth, would you mind reading to me what 
Miss Gascoigne says of David ?' 

vol. 1. 1 



114 STILL WATERS. 

f Not at all/ said Ruth, conscious that the 
answer was not perfectly sincere, but at least, 
she repeated to herself, she ought not to mind; 
and she took the letter from her desk, running 
her eye down three of the five pages before she 
reached the passage in question. ' Evelyn wrote 
to me the other day, very happy in the prospect 
of getting his commission. He says that your 
brother is at the head of the new fellows, and 
a general favourite/ 

i Thank you/ said Jasper, after pausing for 
a moment in hopes that Ruth would read fur- 
ther. He rightly guessed that she knew it 
would give him pleasure to hear what followed, 
but she paused for a moment's deliberation 
and struggle with herself before proceeding. 

1 1 hope that Isabel is more resigned to her 
fate in being separated from David. Of course 
you must miss him too, but you have a resource 
in Mr. Clinton, who is next best to a brother, 
just as Evelyn is to me. It is the chance of 
seeing Evelyn which consoles me for our having 
to spend the Easter holidays with Aunt Maria 
instead of at Dyne Court, which I should like 
much better, if only for the sake of driving 
into Holm dale to see your dear grave old face/ 
1 There/ said Ruth, breaking off; ( there is no 



STILL WATERS. Il£ 

use giving you her rhapsodies about my ' dear, 
grave old face/ ' 

{ Thauk you/ Jasper said again, and with 
more sincerity than before ; ' Miss Gascoigne 
does not seem to have any taste for London 
gaieties/ 

c I do not imagine that she has tasted them 
yet. If Sir John ever gives a dinner at home 
it is to gentlemen, and so she is chiefly in the 
schoolroom with Madame la Rue, and leads a 
much quieter life than at Dyne Court/ 

' She must have almost outgrown the school- 
room/ said Jasper. 

' I suppose so ; but even when she comes 
out, she will need a duenna of some kind/ 

'1 do not much admire Madame la Rue/ 
said Jasper ; and Ruth answered, that ' she 
was very French/ in a tone which rendered it 
doubtful whether the remark was intended to 
account for or excuse her defects. 

1 She has not spoiled her charge, however/ 
said Jasper. ' There never was anything less 
artificial than Miss Gascoigne. She is perfectly 
transparent, and so warm-hearted/ 

The discussion of Clara's character — at least 
when Jasper was the speaker — had an unac- 
countable tendency to remind Ruth of the lapse 
i 2, 



Il6 STILL WATERS. 

of time, and she now observed that she must go 
and pour out tea. With some self-reproach 
that he should have lingered so long on his 
mother's last evening, Jasper bade her good- 
night, and wrung her hand with unusual 
warmth, as she charged him with her parting 
words for Mrs. Clinton. 

He went his way, and the Doctor, who had 
consented to stay to tea, reproached Ruth for 
her long seclusion. 

' He is afraid/ said Isabel, f that the Clinton 
morosity may be infectious, and that if ever 
there is a Mr. Ruth hung in chains, you will 
go after him without wishing any of us good- 
bye/ 



STILL WATERS. I17 



CHAPTER X. 

Kate, like the hazel twig, 
Is straight and slender, and as brown in hue 
As hazel-nuts, and sweeter than their kernels. 

Taming of the Shrew. 

~A /TORE than two years went by, with few 
JjLL events to mark the lapse of time, and it 
was only possible in looking back to note the 
changes which had gradually taken place. 
Mrs. Lennox's constant ill health had left its 
traces on her pale and wasted form ; her in- 
valid habits were confirmed, and she now 
seldom left her sofa. And Ruth too was 
altered ; no longer 

Standing with reluctant feet 
Where the brook and river meet. 

It was easy to see that the light heart of youth 
was occupied, perhaps too early, by the deeper 
feelings, whether of joy or grief, which belong 
to a riper age. She was thin and slight, and 
had in great measure lost the bloom which 
had redeemed her clear but rather olive com- 
plexion from the appearance of ill health. And, 



Il8 STILL WATERS. 

though some might think that quiet grace and 
the thoughtful expression by which she was 
distinguished compensated for the loss of more 
regular attractions, this w r as not the general 
opinion, so that it became a current saying in 
Holmdale, ( that Miss Lennox had gone off as 
as much as her sister had come on/ 

Although Isabel had already attained the 
height of her elder sister, she was a child still. 
There was the same sweet joj'ousness in look 
and tone, the same sunshine in her smile, un- 
touched as yet by the lightest shadow of care. 
The early promise of beauty was amply ful- 
filled, for her delicately-moulded features had 
acquired a more classical regularity, while their 
colouring was even more brilliant than before. 
David might well call her a gipsy queen, with 
those flashing dark eyes, full red lips, and 
cheeks glowing with rich and sunburnt colour ; 
and her free and careless bearing gave her an 
additional claim to the name. 

David's successful career had been the great 
interest of these years. He had now left 
Sandhurst, obtaining his commission without 
purchase, and, after a brief visit to Holmdale, 
where he rejoiced Isabel's heart by a private 
exhibition of his ensign's uniform, he was 



STILL WATERS. 119 

gone to join his regiment in Ireland, the same 
to which Evelyn Gascoigne had been gazetted 
two years before. 

Jasper Clinton had also the consciousness 
of success to cheer him in his more inglorious 
path, and it had its effect in reconciling him 
to the lot which he had learned to consider 
inevitable. His regularity and exactness, and 
the real ability which lay beneath the crust of 
reserve, had their weight with Mr. Dunn, who 
gradually entrusted him with the more re- 
sponsible duties of his office, which made the 
drudgery appear less irksome. Yet there were 
still moments when he chafed against the 
necessity of being chained to the desk, while 
conscious that he was fit for better things, and 
Ruth could fully sympathise with his repinings, 
especially since the Doctor often expressed his 
admiration of Jasper's application to study in 
in his leisure hours, declaring that he would, 
with greater advantages, have been distinguished 
for scholarship. 

On this bright summer day, when it is 
necessary to take up the thread of my story 
again, Mrs. Lennox's couch had been placed 
in a sheltered angle of the garden-wall, where 
she lay, contentedly watching the group before 



120 STILL WATERS. 

her, and listeoing to the gay tones which 
floated by, without being able to distinguish 
the words. Isabel, in broad-leafed hat and 
gardening-gloves, was engaged in tying up 
carnations, while Ruth sat on a bench beside 
her, weaving a garland of roses for her sister's 
chestnut hair, and Clara Gascoigne lay on the 
grass at her feet, still for the moment, except 
that her bright, restless eyes were ever roaming 
in search of amusement. She had ridden over 
from Dyne Court, and something in her atti- 
tude betrayed that she was not "unconscious of 
looking very pretty, in her small hat and 
feather and close-fitting habit. 

' You are both so busy/ she said, ' that I 
am quite ashamed of taking mine ease ; but I 
cannot tie up carnations in this inconvenient 
skirt, and I have not genius for weaving 
garlands. Really, Ruth, that wreath surpasses 
anything at Madame Devy'V 

c I should think so/ said Isabel, darting an 
indignant glance from under the shade of her 
straw hat, to Clara's infinite amusement. 

' I had an indistinct impression that I should 
rouse Isabel's ire by that innocent remark, 
although I do not at all know where the offence 
lies. Do enlighten me, Isabel/ 



STILL WATERS. 121 

Isabel made no direct reply, but she stooped 
to eradicate an offending weed, with the half- 
uttered soliloquy, ' Little again ! nothing but 
low and little '/ 

The words did not escape Clara's quick ear, 
and she said, with a gay laugh, f That asper- 
sion is too personal, for you know that I should 
of all things like to be as tall as you/ 

Ruth joined in the laugh, and so did Isabel, 
although she was thoroughly in earnest. 

' You know very well what I meant, Clara/ 
she said j ' but it is really too hot to argue and 
garden at the same time/ 

f I am sure that you have been at work quite 
long enough/ said Ruth ; ' come and sit in the 
shade/ 

1 Well, I will/ said Isabel. She came to sit 
beside her sister, and, at her bidding, took off 
her hat, in order that Ruth might place the 
garland in her hair, and judge of the effect of 
her handiwork. 

' It is charming/ exclaimed Clara. ' Next 
time we have a party at Dyne Court, you shall 
come and weave something for me, since I can- 
not go to Madame Devy's. But for whom is 
Isabel making herself so fine to-night V 

' For mamma/ replied Isabel, with a con- 



122 STILL WATEES. 

temptuous curl of her full lip, perhaps because 
she anticipated the incredulity with which the 
answer was received 

' For mamma, of course. People always 
wear serge in company, and silk in private life/ 

Just in time to prevent a rather stormy re- 
ply, Mrs. Lennox called Isabel to draw her sofa 
into the retreating shade, and Ruth took ad- 
vantage of her absence to take Clara to task in the 
tone, good-humoured at once and authoritative, 
which she might have nsed to a spoiled child, — 

' Now, Clara, why will yon tease Isabel ? 
you always choose to say the very thing which 
irritates her/ 

' Yon should tell Isabel that it is very wrong 
to be irritated/ replied Clara, while she switched 
off the heads of the daisies with her riding-whip. 
' Confess, now, that Isabel is a little — the least 
in the world — too ready to take offence, and 
then her anger is so very becoming that I can 
never forbear to raise it a little more. I wonder 
whether my eyes ever shine in the same fiery 
fashion?' 

' Never/ said Ruth ; ' they are bright and 
clear enough, but there is no depth in their 
brilliancy, because the heart does not shine 
through/ 



STILL WATERS. 1 23 

Clara looked amused, and not at all offended 
by the severity of the remark. ' I understand/ 
she said ; ' they are glassy, like a fish or a wax 
doll. Sad work yon and Isabel make of me be- 
tween yon ! I have hardly recovered from the 
reflection on my height when you fall upon my 
eyes, and, worse than all, you leave me in doubt 
whether I have a heart. But here comes Mr. 
Clinton, who must, in common courtesy, under- 
take my defence. You must know, Mr. Clin- 
ton, that Ruth and Isabel accuse me of being 
no better than an under-sized wax doll V 

' Hear both sides before you decide, Jasper/ 
said Isabel, returning in time to plead a cause 
which Ruth would never have attempted to de- 
fend. ' I cannot tell what Ruth may have said 
just now, but I am sure that it can have been 
nothing so wicked as I did. Really I could 
not help being angry, when Clara, instead of 
enjoying the thrush's song, and the greenness 
and freshness of the garden, after the dust and 
turmoil of London, began to talk of the opera, 
and her balls, and partners. And then she 
thought she was paying Ruth a compliment 
when she compared her garland to artificial 
flowers V 

These words had the effect of checking the 



124 STILL WATERS. 

ardour with which Jasper had prepared to re- 
spond to the appeal, and he spoke in a low and 
unsteady voice, without raising his eyes, — 

1 1 had hoped that Miss Gascoigne's return 
was as pleasant to her as it is to us/ 

1 1 cannot attempt to compare sensations/ 
said Clara, while her cheek was tinged with 
that pink glow which enhances beauty without 
conveying the idea of inconvenient embarrass- 
ment ; ' but certainly I am glad to be at home 
again, and here especially, where I am more at 
home than anywhere else. If I had been the 
slave to dissipation which Isabel supposes, I 
should not have left town three weeks before 
papa, to live here in strict seclusion with 
Madame la Rue/ 

1 Except/ said Isabel, ' that you told us just 
now that even Dyne Court was more lively than 
Belgrave-square, now that London is deserted 
by all but the lawyers and a fraction of the 
House of Commons. And only think, Jasper, 
she says that the drives along the Serpentine 
are better than any along our river V 

1 No/ Ruth interposed, with her usual accu- 
racy, c she did not say that exactly — only that 
there might be more to see which was worth 
seeing/ 



STILL WATERS. 1 25 

( Ah V said Clara, with a mock gesture of 
despair, ' I ought to be grateful for that amend- 
ment ; but it only reminds me that I have re- 
turned to the land where there is always some 
one to catch and cavil at my words. I see 
that even Mr. Clinton thinks me irreclaimably 
frivolous/ 

There was a charm in that little word f even' 
which chased every cloud from Jasper's brow, 
and he said, smiling, — 

' I am glad that you think me a less severe 
censor than Isabel/ 

1 Or Ruth/ said Clara, mischievously ; ' Isabel 
is nothing to Ruth, though she is more measured 
in her remarks before company. Shall I tell 
Mr. Clinton what you said just now, Ruth ?' 

c If you please/ said Ruth, with a constrained 
smile; and Clara sprang up, and caressingly 
laid her hand on her shoulder. 

' No, I shall not ; for I know that it was 
meant for my private edification, — all for my 
good, as the story-books say. And now I 
must really go home, for if I leave Madame 
alone much longer, she will be more voluble 
than usual in deploring Vaffreuse tristesse de 
notre chateau? 

f You will not mind sroing to the court- 



126 STILL WATERS. 

yard/ said Ruth; c there is a horse-block to 
mount by/ 

{ Or, perhaps, Mr. Clinton can mount me/ 
said Clara ; ' if Zohrab has a prejudice, it is 
against going up to the block/ 

Jasper's countenance glowed with pleasure ; 
and it was one of those happy moments by 
which he counted the eras of his life, when 
Clara's tiny foot rested on his hand, although 
his assistance was scarcely needed to place her 
light and springing figure in the saddle. Her 
next caprice prompted her to show off ZohraVs 
taste for sugar; and, although the old groom 
demurred, and said that it was not safe, she 
insisted that the bit should be taken off. 
Then she bent over the saddle, balancing her- 
self with graceful daring, until she had induced 
Zohrab to take the sugar from her outstretched 
hand. Isabel was delighted with the animal's 
docility, Jasper wholly absorbed by admiration 
of its rider, but Ruth shared the groom's 
fears. 

' It is not safe/ she said ; c if anything 
startled Zohrab now that you are leaning over, 
you must lose your seat/ 

' 1 will take care/ said Jasper, throwing his 
arm over the beautiful creature's curved and 



STILL WATEES. 1 27 

glossy neck ; and since Clara's supply of sugar 
was exhausted, she permitted the bit to be 
replaced, again accepting Jasper's assistance in 
adjusting the reins. 

' When shall we three meet again ? 
In thunder, lightning, or in rain ?' 

said Isabel, retreating into the three inches of 
shade afforded by the projecting eaves of an 
outhouse. ' Not in sunshine, I hope. How the 
sun does beat upon the court V 

' Is it so powerful ?' said Clara. ' I am a 
salamander, I suppose, for I had not found out 
that it was hot. But really, Mr. Clinton, it is 
shocking of me to have kept you standing so 
loug — and without your hat too.' 

' It has not been long/ said Jasper, stooping 
in some confusion to recover his hat, which he 
had thrown aside in order to mount Clara. 
1 Are you sure, Miss Gascoigne, that the stir- 
rup is right?' 

' Quite right, thank you. Does not Zohrab 
stand well ? Evelyn bought him for me in 
Spain, and he is as gentle as he is spirited.' 

' Like the Arab's horse in the song,' said 
Isabel; but Clara interrupted the impending 
quotation, declaring that life was not long 
enough for those long lines. 



128 STILL WATERS. 

( Besides/ she said, f I wanted to answer 
your former metrical question, respecting our 
next meeting. Cannot you all come over on 
Saturday afternoon to eat strawberries and see 
the garden, and 1 will show off ZohraVs other 
accomplishments? I know you can come, so 
I will send the carriage at three/ She rode 
off without waiting for a reply, since Zohrab, 
with all his boasted docility, was beginning to 
chafe at the delay. 

' And now/ said Isabel, l the faster we get 
out of this furnace, and back into the shade, 
the better/ 

She led the way, her sister following more 
leisurely with Jasper. The subject of his me- 
ditations presently transpired. 

' I suppose that Miss Gascoigne only meant 
you and Isabel/ 

1 1 suppose so/ said Ruth, but not very 
confidently; and this encouraged Jasper to 
proceed. 

c I should not have thought otherwise for a 
moment if she had not looked towards me 
when she said 'you alF — at least so I fancied. 
And she named the very hour for Saturday 
when she knows that I am disengaged/ 

' Yes, I remarked that too/ said Ruth ; 



STILL WATERS. 129 

■ if you like, I will ask mamma what she 
thinks/ 

( Oh no, thank you/ said Jasper, drawing 
back, ' I would rather give it up at once than 
have the thing discussed. And by that time I 
suppose that Sir John will have returned/ 

' Xo ; I believe that he is not expected till 
next week/ said Ruth, without caring to ex- 
press her conviction that only in Sir John's 
absence would Clara have ventured to include 
Jasper in her invitation. For Madame la Rue 
was a very manageable duenna, and her views 
of decorum and of the duty of exclusiveness 
by no means inconveniently rigid. 

1 1 have not been inside the house at Dyne 
Court since that Christinas party/ said Jasper. 
It was evident that very slight pressure would 
have sufficed to vanquish his scruples, but 
Ruth did not think fit to afford it. She only 
remarked that the Gascoignes had not passed 
a Christmas at home since that time. 

f Xo ; but if they had been at home, or if 
they ever again have a Christmas party, I shall 
not be asked to it. Then I was a school-boy, 
and David's friend; and now the gulf is widened 
immeasurably by my position in Mr. Dunn's 
office/ 

vol. 1. K 



130 STILL WATERS. 

i I suppose that the Australian mail brought 
you no letter, or you would have mentioned it/ 
said Ruth; and hopeless as Jasper had just 
admitted his day-dream to be, he turned from 
it unwillingly to give his attention to the sober 
realities of life. 



STILL WATERS. 131 



CHAPTER XI. 

K. Ph. Patience, good lady ! Comfort, gentle Con- 
stance ! 
Const. No ; I defy all counsel, all redress, 

But that which ends all counsel, true redress — 
Death ! death ! amiable, lovely death ! 
* * * Misery's love, 

come to me ! 

King John. 

C\& the evening of the same day Ruth and 
^ Isabel found their way through the 
garden into the meadow which sloped down 
to the river. An old willow flung a gigantic 
limb across the stream, forming a favourite 
lair of Isabel's, and there she now ensconced 
herself. Her hat lay upon the grass, where 
it was to be found more often than on her 
head; and the evening breeze played with her 
curls, and breathed softly on her temples. 
Ruth leaned against the tree, her eyes cast 
down to the running water, idly watching the 
course of the bubbles, as they floated by upon 
the stream. 

The meadow was a common haunt of the 
k % 



1$2 STILL WATERS. 

sisters on summer evenings, so that Dr. Berke- 
ley mnst have been prepared to find them 
there, as he came along the footpath skirting 
the river's brink. But his appearance was un- 
expected, since he was usually engaged with 
Jasper at this hour, and Isabel promptly 
accused him of playing truant. 

1 1 have seen Clinton, and he has gone home/ 
replied the Doctor, in a tone which startled 
Ruth. 

' Jasper told me/ she said, ( that he had no 
letter/ 

1 No ; but I have heard from my cousin 
Frank, to whom I wrote, as you may re- 
member, some months ago, to make inquiries 
about Mrs. Clinton. I cannot show you the 
letter, for Clinton took it home with him ; but 
it is a sad story — even more sad than the long 
suspense led us to expect. Frank applied 
to the government offices for an account of 
Richard Clinton, and he was informed that the 
only convict of that name had made his escape 
from the settlement more than a year ago. It 
was supposed that he had got off in some ship 
just leaving the port, but nothing certain was 
known. One of the clerks remembered that 
inquiries were made after the same Richard 



STILL WATERS. 133 

Clinton very shortly after he absconded, by a 
person who can have been no other than his 
poor wife. He described her to be a tall, 
striking person, dressed in black ; and he 
added, that he was still haunted by the face of 
rigid despair with which she turned and left 
the office. With much difficulty Frank traced 
her subsequent fate. At last he ascertained 
from the keeper of a small lodging-house on 
the quay that a person who bore the initials of 
B. C. had died there, friendless and unknown. 
It was of no apparent disease, the woman said, 
nor yet of absolute want, although it had been 
necessary to sell her effects to defray the ex- 
pense of her burial. Frank gathered from what 
was said that her mind had given way. She 
refused to speak or eat, and she was found 
dead one morning, clasping a miniature which 
the lodging-keeper had put aside in case any 
attempts should be made to identify her, and 
now gave over to Frank. He promises to send 
it home by the first opportunity/ 

' The miniature of her husband, which was 
always beside her/ said Ruth, as soon as she 
had found voice to speak. ' How terrible ! 
And how will Jasper bear it V 

' There is but one alleviation/ said Dr. 



134 STILL WATERS. 

Berkeley. ' She was spared the misery of see- 
ing what he had become ; and her last action 
proves that she died with her love and trust 
unshaken. Yet Frank writes that he was re- 
puted to be one of the worst characters in the 
settlement — reckless and unprincipled, while 
his ability and superior education gave him 
great and dangerous influence over his asso- 
ciates/ 

1 And you told all this to Jasper V said Ruth. 

' 1 gave him the letter. He would not have 
been satisfied otherwise; and, indeed, when so 
much was inevitably painful, it seemed useless 
to attempt a partial revelation. But I hardly 
think he took in anything at the time except 
his mother's fate/ 

' I should think not/ said Isabel, shudder- 
ing ; l to know that she died alone, and in a 
strange land V 

1 Je mourrai seul/ said the Doctor, thought- 
fully ; ' so I believe we must all find it when 
we come to die; and the faces gathered round 
the bed may not detain us when our eyes are 
opening to ' the land which is very far off/ 3 

In general Ruth liked to follow such a train 
of thought, but now she could not turn her 
mind from the tragedy just disclosed. ' You 



STILL WATERS. 1 35 

know/ she said, ( that in the only letter Jasper 
received from his mother, written from the 
ship before she landed, she said that she had 
been ill all through the voyage ; and I suppose 
that she was too weak to bear the disappoint- 
ment, and it broke her heart/ 

' And unsettled her mind, so I gather from 
Frank's account. Something in her eye always 
made me fear that she was on the verge of 
insanity, and but for this she would not have 
died without leaving one parting word for Jas- 
per. He seemed to feel this most acutely.' 

' I believe she did not care for Jasper in the 
least, or she would never have left him to go 
after her wicked husband/ said Isabel, deci- 
dedly; and though Ruth demurred to assent 
to such a sweeping clause, she allowed that the 
one absorbing passion of Mrs. Clinton's life 
had left little scope for other affections. 

The dew was falling, and the Doctor would 
not suffer the young ladies to linger in the 
meadow, Isabel cutting short his warning 
against the danger of evening exhalations by a 
laughing accusation that he was afraid of the 
rheumatism for himself. But she was forced to 
admit that the advice was disinterested, while 
she retraced her steps with her sister, and 



136 STILL WATERS. 

watched his tall and somewhat ungainly form 
still sauntering beside the river. c We must 
not tell mamma to-night, it would only give her 
a sleepless night/ said Ruth, and Isabel readily 
complied with the injunction. Her feelings, 
however strongly excited, soon again subsided, 
and there was little effort in her gaiety. It 
was otherwise with Ruth. The evening was 
her mother's best time, and in general the 
time slipped too fast away, but now the hour 
for prayers seemed to tarry. In David's ab- 
sence it was her office to read, and her voice 
faltered when she came to the petition for the 
fatherless and the orphan, and thought of him 
who, now an orphan, and worse than father- 
less, was alone with his grief in his cheerless 
home. Mrs. Lennox did not observe her 
agitation, but she attributed her wan looks 
to the heat of the day, and she would not 
suffer her to linger as usual for more last 
words after Isabel had retired. 

At length, then, Ruth was alone, and free 
to dwell on the sad story, chiefly as it affected 
Jasper. She recalled the store of promises by 
which she had already had occasion to subdue 
her own unchastened spirit; but it had been 
more easy to take the lesson home than to apply 



STILL WATERS. Itf 

it to another. For herself, she knew that it 
was good to bear the yoke in her youth, and 
she had begun to taste the sweetness of the 
discipline; but it was hard to believe that the 
same discipline would avail for Jasper. His 
spirit was already crushed and embittered by 
the nature of his trial, and she feared lest this 
fresh blow should depress him into despair just 
as he was beginning to recover a more healthy 
tone of mind. Here she was checked by a 
pang of self-reproach, as she discovered how 
exclusively she viewed the matter in its rela- 
tions to Jasper, with scarcely a thought of 
Mrs. Clinton, or of his wretched father's more 
hapless fate. It is, she thought, only one form 
of self-seeking, and she knelt down and hid 
her face, feeling that in prayer alone there was 
safety. 

On the following morning Ruth imparted 
the Doctor's intelligence to her mother, who 
was, as she had anticipated, much affected by 
it. In the memory of her early friendship 
with Barbara Maylin, their subsequent estrange- 
ment was forgotten, and Mrs. Lennox dwelt 
upon her youthful attractions, and upon the 
heroic devotion which marked the closing 
scene of her most unhappy life. For Jasper 



138 STILL WATERS. 

also her sympathy and interest were warmly 
excited, and she was the first to make the sug- 
gestion from which a certain degree of con- 
sciousness had restrained Ruth, that he should 
be invited to occupy David's room for a few 
days. 

( It is grievous/ Mrs. Lennox said, c to think 
of him alone in that melancholy house/ So 
Ruth set off for Bean-street after breakfast; 
she believed that Jasper would go to the office 
as usual, and that she should only see Martha, 
and though Mrs. Lennox thought otherwise, 
it was not an occasion for standing too rigidly 
on proprieties. 

The house looked dreary, with every blind 
drawn down, and the aspect of Martha's coun- 
tenance, when she opened the door, was more 
sinister than ever. She had resented all other 
inquiries as a studied insult, but she did 
justice to Ruth's heartfelt interest, and with- 
drew her person, at first planted on the 
threshold in the attitude of defiance, so as to 
admit her into the entrance-passage, while a 
sigh, or rather a groan, accompanied the ejacu- 
lation of, ' Ah well, Miss Lennox V 

' Has Mr. Clinton gone to the office V Ruth 



STILL WATERS. 1 39 

c Not yet, Miss Lennox, though he is mad 
enough to say he will go. He has but just 
left his room, and I have taken him a cup of 
strong coffee, which is good for the nerves ; so 
I hope you can wait a few minutes. It's most 
like he won't touch it if you go in now and 
upset him/ 

' I can wait as long as you please/ said Ruth, 
' if you will let me sit down in your room/ 

And Martha led the way to her clean, tidy 
kitchen, glad of the opportunity to pour out 
her griefs. 

f Poor dear Master Jasper, he came in last 
night looking scared and stupified, and just 
put the letter into my hand, for he was not 
able to speak. Then he went and shut him- 
self up in his room, and never looked up when 
I came in with a light, but just asked for the 
letter again ; and I believe that he sat up till 
morning, for the light was shining under his 
door when I went to bed, which was late 
enough, and indeed there was the best part of 
a candle burnt down to the socket. And if 
he did get a little sleep towards morning, 
Mr. Ball, overhead, must have woke him, since 
he chose this of all days of the year to put on 
a new pair of creaking boots. And then he 



140 STILL WATERS. 

seemed to expect me to make his buttered toast 
for breakfast, just as if nothing had happened/ 

1 Perhaps he was not aware of Mr. Clinton's 
loss/ Ruth suggested, in extenuation of the 
first-floor lodger's unfeeling conduct. 

1 AY ell, I can't say/ rejoined Martha, in the 
same exasperated tone ; ' if he is in ignorance, 
he is the only person in this blessed town who 
is. I have been so put about by inquiries, 
Mrs. Dunn sending to ask after Mr. Clinton, 
and the very baker-boy wanting to know the 
truth of the story. Dr. Berkeley means well, 
I dare say, but he is no better than a sieve.' 

' Dr. Berkeley/ said Ruth, l told me last 
night that he should go round by Mr. Dunn's, 
to tell him that Mr. Clinton would most likely 
be unequal to going to the office to-day/ 

' He is no more equal to it than a baby, 
Miss Lennox/ said Martha, taking up the 
corner of her apron to wipe away the tears 
which only the strongest emotion could have 
wrung from those glazed eyes. ' It would 
melt a heart of stone to see him with a face 
like ashes, and his hands trembling, and not 
able to speak or shed a tear. Won't you go 
in to him now, and see if you can do anything 
for him V 



STILL WATERS. 1 4 1 

Although Ruth quailed from the thought of 
witnessing sufferings which she felt herself 
wholly unable to relieve, she suffered Martha 
to show her into the little parlour, which she 
had not entered since Mrs. Clinton's departure. 
Martha's account of Jasper's appearance was 
not overcharged, hut the face of stony wretch- 
edness relaxed when Ruth entered; he arose, 
and wrung her hand, still retaining it with a 
nervous pressure, as he said, f It is very kind 
of you to come/ 

Ruth was ashamed of the thrill of gladness 
with which she recalled Mrs. Clinton's pre- 
diction that when real trouble came, Jasper 
would turn to her for sympathy, as he had 
formerly done. Her low and tearful answer, 
' Oh, Jasper, I am so sorry ; I have thought of 
you so much,' availed more to soothe his chafed 
spirit than the best chosen words of consolation. 

' That there is some one still to care' — was 
all he said, as he turned his face away ; and she 
knew that the gasping sob and tears which 
followed, must bring relief. c I could bear 
anything,' he added, when he had recovered 
his voice, ' anything but the knowledge that 
she died alone, perhaps from neglect and want, 
when I should have been there. I suffered 



143 STILL WATERS. 

my pitiful fear of shame to prevail, and would 
not go.' 

' Your mother wished it to be so/ said Ruth ; 
but her words could not stem the torrent of 
self-accusation. After a time he became more 
composed, and although resolved to decline 
Mrs. Lennox's invitation to the Red House, 
he was submissive to Ruth's entreaty that he 
would relinquish his intention of attending the 
office as usual. Indeed, the severe headache 
which followed any agitation rendered him in- 
capable of exertion, and he lay down among 
the cushions, so temptingly arranged by Ruth's 
practised hands. There she left him, under 
Martha's charge, who, as she moved about with 
noiseless steps, hoped to goodness that Mr. 
Ball would find patients enough to keep him 
and his creaking boots out of the house for the 
rest of the day. 



STILL WATERS. 1 43 



CHAPTER XII. 

She trembles her fan in a sweetness dumb,' 

As her thoughts were beyond recalling ; 
With a glance for one, and a glance for some, 

From her eyelids rising and falling, 
Speaks common words with a blushful air, 

Hears bold words unreproving 5 
But her silence says — what she never will swear — 

And love seeks truer loving. 

E. B. Browning. 

SOME days passed, and Jasper still kept away 
from the Red House. Ruth's only know- 
ledge respecting him was obtained from Mrs. 
Dunn, who, in the course of a morning visit, 
mentioned that he had only been absent one 
day from the office, and was now at work again, 
looking much as usual, Mr. Dunn said, except, 
poor fellow, for the crape round his hat. 

When Mrs. Dunn was gone, Mrs. Lennox 
observed that it was a pity Jasper shut himself 
up so much, and Ruth assented very briefly, for 
she was more grieved and disappointed than she 
cared to own. She still hoped that he only 
deferred his visit until Saturday afternoon, for- 



144 STILL AYATEES. 

getting their engagement to go to Dyne Court, 
and she felt an increasing distaste for this same 
engagement when the day came. The clouds 
were gathering, and she hoped that the carriage 
might not be sent for them, after all ; but the 
lowering morning cleared into a bright and 
sultry day, and the Dyne Court barouche, with 
its pair of prancing bays, drew up to the door 
even before the appointed hour. And while 
Ruth was unwillingly putting away her drawing 
materials, before she went to fetch her bonnet, 
Clara herself entered the room, looking bright 
and buoyant in her gossamer dress. 

c You see/ she said, ' I have come in person 
to carry you off, for I had a presentiment that 
you intended to send Isabel, and stay at home 
yourself. Confess, now, that you had some 
such treacherous intention/ 

1 1 believe/ said Ruth, ' that I was thinking 
how hot it was to go junketing/ 

' Oh very ! — to take an easy drive in an open 
carriage and then to sit in the shade of the 
noble chestnuts, instead of baking in this very 
worthy little oven, or walking along the glaring 
and dusty pavements. If / had said anything 
so inconsequent, how severe you would have 
been/ 



STILL "WATERS. 145 

* Well, I will go ; but I shall want to be 
back early because of mamma. I will get 
my bonnet, and see if she has anything to say 
before we go. Isabel is ready, and in the 
garden/ 

Ruth was not away many minutes, and Clara 
amused herself by flitting about the room in 
her usual desultory fashion ; striking a few 
chords on the piano, singing snatches of the 
last fashionable song, and turning over the 
books upon the table, while she raised her eye- 
brows with a mixture of horror and amuse- 
ment at their instructive character. Spenser's 
Faerie Queene was the most modern specimen 
to be found there ; a well-thumbed school edi- 
tion of Horace, scrawled over with David's 
name, not the most ancient. While thus en- 
gaged, the door was thrown hastily open, but 
Jasper lingered with his hand upon the lock 
when he perceived that Clara was the only in- 
mate of the room. 

'I beg your pardon/ he said, colouring 
deeply, ' I expected to find Ruth here/ 

' She will be down immediately ; will you 
not come in V said Clara, but Jasper still hesi- 
tated, and she was piqued to discover that she 
was not as usual his first thought. 

VOL. I, L 



146 STILL WATERS. 

At this moment Ruth appeared, and Clara 
again turned to Jasper. 

e Perhaps, Mr. Clinton, you will be so good 
as to call Isabel from the garden, for I don't 
like to keep the horses standing in the sun/ 

Jasper complied with the request, but re- 
turning almost immediately, he went up to 
Ruth and said, in a low, agitated voice — 

' Cannot I see you alone for one moment 
before you go V 

' Oh, yes ; you will not mind waiting, 
Clara V said Ruth ; but Clara's assent was not 
ready. 

' I am afraid that we ought to go ; papa did 
not wish me to keep the horses out longer than 
I could help/ 

Sir John's wishes did not in general meet 
with such dutiful attention, and in sun and 
rain alike, the bright bays were well used to 
champ their bits before the door of the Red 
House. However, Ruth did not care to argue 
the point, and she told Jasper that she should 
be at home by six o'clock, if he could come to 
see her then. 

' Very well/ said Jasper. 

f I wish, Mr. Clinton/ added Clara, gaily, 
' that you would come with us, and then you 



STILL WATERS. 147 

.might talk as much as you please. But T 
suppose that Mr. Dunn would accuse me of 
aiding and abetting you to play truant, if I were 
to carry you off.' 

Jasper's attempt to smile was miserably un- 
successful, and Ruth unwillingly followed Clara 
to the carriage, and left him standing in the 
doorway, little dreaming how long she was to 
be haunted by the recollection of that haggard 
and sorrow-stricken face. The working of the 
lines about the mouth betrayed nervous agita- 
tion, and his eyes looked hollow and sleepless, 
and burned with a feverish light. 

f How wretchedly Mr. Clinton looks V said 
Clara, nestling luxuriously into her corner of 
the barouche. { Mr. Dunn saw papa last night on 
business, ending, as usual, with the latest Holm- 
dale intelligence, so that I had heard of Mrs. 
Clinton's death, but I was scarcely prepared to 
see her so sincerely lamented. She was not an 
attractive old lady, was she ? And then it 
must be a relief to know that one's father is 
no longer a convict, but a gentleman at large/ 

Clara's levity of tone so wounded Ruth that 
she made no attempt to reply, and Clara was 
ready, as usual, in part to justify, in part to 
explain away her words. 

L % 



148 STILL WATERS. 

' Now, Ruth, don't look as if you thought 
me an inhuman monster; I only knew Mrs. 
Clinton by reputation, but I am ready to admire 
her son's dutiful respect for her memory, since 
you think it admirable. Only when people are 
so desperately wobegone they should retire into 
private life, for it is scarcely fair to inflict their 
miseries on the world at large/ 

' On those at least who flutter through the 
world, butterfly fashion, without thought or 
care for others ; but Jasper did not expect to 
see you when he came.' 

1 Enough/ said Clara, holding up her hands, 
as if to avert a coming blow ; ' Isabel, can you 
say nothing young and foolish to avert Ruth's 
indignation from my devoted head V 

( It would be of no use/ said Isabel, laugh- 
ing ; ' Ruth never says such things to me/ 

' Because I do not think them/ said Ruth, 
while tears gathered in her eyes ; ' 1 don't know 
how it is, Clara, that you will always force me 
to speak bitter truths, when it would be better 
to be silent, even though they are truths. And 
then I am sorry for it afterwards.' 

'Why should you be sorry, or vex yourself 
for what never vexes me ? You are privileged 
to say anything, and Ruth is near allied to 



STILL WATERS. 1 49 

truth. I will do anything to satisfy you — 
short of wearing mourning for Mrs. Clinton/ 

She could not win a smile from Ruth on 
this subject, although she was ready to talk of 
other matters, asking whether Sir John had 
brought any friends with him from London. 

' Yes ; there is Mr. Lewis, who is an excel- 
lent type of papa's friends — substantial and 
agricultural, a magistrate and a county member. 
And then there is Lord Edward Lynmere, 
also an M.P., but of a different stamp. He 
is a rising young man, and one of my preux 
chevaliers, so that I. am rather glad that you 
should see him. Ah, it is Isabel's turn to look 
indignant now/ 

c One of your partners, I suppose/ said 
Isabel, subsiding, though she had certainly 
felt inclined to resent any unworthy use of 
the terms of chivalry. 

And Clara answered demurely — 

' Precisely ; his name has been so often 
written on my tablets that it is quite engrained 
there. He began his career as an ardent 
politician j but towards the end of the season 
he favoured me with more of his eloquence 
than Mr. Speaker. I always look bored by 
any allusion to politics ; and he seems to be as 



150 STILL WATERS. 

much charmed by my frivolity as if I talked 
Hansard? 

' And so you do your utmost to weaken his 
chances of distinction/ said Ruth. 

' He seems satisfied/ rejoined Clara, care- 
lessly. ' However, you are welcome to give 
him a taste of solid acquirements, in case they 
suit him better. It may be as well to try 
some tolerably modern subject — not earlier 
than the Wittenagemot, if you can accom- 
plish it/ 

After passing the afternoon in Lord Edward's 
society, Isabel was ready to admit that the 
term of preux chevalier was not misapplied. 

' It was strange/ she observed to Ruth, in 
the course of their drive home, l to see any one 
so stately and strong, with his Vandyke face, 
and his grand, courteous manner, subdued by 
a look or smile from Clara. He was always 
on the watch to discover her wishes, and never 
so happy as when she sent him on her errands. 
I thought it rather humiliating, especially 
when she sent him the second time through 
the sun, because he had not brought the 
parasol she fancied; and I could not help 
feeling that she deserved to be treated like 
Kunigund — 



STILL WATERS. 151 

Er wirft ihr den Handschuh ins Gesicht : 
Den Dank, Dame, begehr icli nicht, 
L T nd verlasst sie zur selben Stunde.' 

Ruth smiled a half assent, observing — 

• Sunny as it was, crossing that strip of 
gravel was not such a service of danger as 
rescuing the glove from the lion and the 
tiger/ 

f Well, but, Ruth, I am sure that you would 
not order people about in that way/ 

' You are more likely than I, Isabel, to have 
such power to abuse. I do not mean just 
now, for such are not your relations with 
David/ 

' Not exactly/ said Isabel, laughing at the 
recollection of her implicit subjection to his 
will j ' and I believe it is the contrast which 
makes me think that Clara and Lord Edward 
are reversing the natural order of things. 
Even Jasper, who is often ceremoniously 
polite, does less for you than you do for him. 
However, it is not quite the same thing, for I 
suppose that Lord Edward is in love with her/ 

The last words were spoken diffidently, 
since the elder sister did not encourage any 
discussion of that mysterious passion which 
was already the subject of many of Isabel's 



1$2 STILL WATERS. 

secret musings. And, accordingly, Ruth only 
answered — 

' So it seems/ 

' And I think that Clara must be in love 
too, or she would not talk and laugh so much 
with him/ 

' I imagine that if she really cared for him, 
she would talk and laugh less. But it is im- 
possible to tell what Clara thinks, or if she 
thinks at all.' 

' I can tell you one thing, Ruth, that Clara 
is really fond of you. She took so much pains 
to bring you and Lord Edward together, and 
tried to talk of the things you care about ; 
and it was rather provoking that you did not 
make yourself half so pleasant as you do to 
Miss Perrott/ 

'No/ said Ruth, with another of her half 
smiles; ' Miss Perrott is much more in my line/ 

'But really, Ruth/ said Isabel, pleadingly, 
1 there is no harm in being pleasant and well- 
bred, and no merit in talking scandal and 
small gossip/ 

' Clara and Lord Edward were talking great 
gossip/ answered Ruth ; e only in a light 
sparkling way, and we did not know the 
people/ 



STILL WATERS. 153 

f No; which made it seem like an amusing 
story. You will allow that it was more amus- 
ing than Miss Perrott' s conversation/ 

'1 don't know that it was more satisfying. 
But then I do not mind being bored/ said 
Ruth, in a matter-of-fact voice which con- 
trasted curiously with her sister's eager expos- 
tulation. 

1 My dear Ruth ! You never shall persuade 
me on high moral grounds to like Miss Perrott 
better than Lord Edward/ 

' Lord Edward is very well in his way ; but 
I don't like to hear you always running down 
Holm dale/ 

{ Not always, Ruth j only when we are quite 
in private life. I shall never whisper to Miss 
Perrott my preference for Lord Edward, nor 
tell her that I like Zohrab better than either. 
Ah, Ruth ! if ever I coveted my neighbour's 
horse, it should be an Arab/ 



Ij4 still waters. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

He is dead to me, 
And I must soon 

Die to him, and many things ; and, mark me, 
Breathe not his name, lest this love-pamper'd heart 
Should sicken to vain yearnings — lost ! lost ! lost ! 

Saint's Tragedy. 

THE discussion was ended by their arrival 
at home ; only just in time, as Isabel re- 
marked, for the black curtain of clouds had 
again closed over their heads, and the oppres- 
sive stillness of the air and a lurid light in 
the west were presages of a coming storm. 

The clock had struck six ; but Jasper was 
not waiting for them, as his habitual punc- 
tuality led Ruth to expect. 

1 He must soon be here/ she thought, as 
she ran up to her mother's room ; but 
she was presently obliged to admit that he 
would probably be too weather-wise to venture 
out of shelter that evening. The darkened 
room was illumined by a flash of lightning, 
followed almost instantaneously by the sharp 
crack of the thunder. A few large and sullen 



STILL WATERS. 155 

drops were beginning to fall, and there was 
a low sighing of the wind, as if the elements 
were collecting force to break loose in all their 
fury. Mrs. Lennox, ever affected by any 
change of atmosphere, was nerrons and dis- 
composed; and Ruth attempted to divert her 
thoughts by recounting the day's adventures. 
Isabel threw in a word occasionally ; but she 
had placed her chair as near the window as 
her mother's fears would allow, and was soon 
absorbed in watching the progress of the 
storm. 

It was soon raging in all its violence, the 
rain streaming down in torrents, and the 
thunder pealing, as it seemed, over the house 
itself. In such a tumult Sally's modest 
knock was unheard, and she was constrained 
to open the door and ask for Miss Lennox. 
Since Ruth had undertaken the charge of 
household affairs, such appeals occurred too 
often to attract attention ; and as she went out 
into the passage she instinctively sought her 
bunch of keys, prepared to comply with a de- 
mand for brown sugar or kitchen candles. 

' If you please, miss/ said Sally, ■ a person 
has come to ask whether you know where Mr. 
Clinton is.-' 



156 STILL WATERS. 

' Is it Martha V Ruth asked hurriedly, and 
with a sudden foreboding of evil. ' I will see 
her/ 

'It is not Martha, miss. The gentleman, 
Mr. Dunn, told me not to give his name ; but 
then he asked so many questions, I thought it 
best to come to you/ 

' I will go to him/ said Ruth, quickly de- 
scending the stairs. 

Mr. Dunn stood in the hall, the rain-drops 
streaming off his macintosh and umbrella, as 
if to confirm her misgiving that only urgent 
necessity could have brought him out in such 
weather. But his manner, always imper- 
turbable, was only distinguished by an additional 
shade of stiffness. 

' Good evening, Miss Lennox. I am sorry 
that you should trouble yourself to come down- 
stairs, since I merely called to inquire if Clin- 
ton was here/ 

1 He was here between twelve and one/ said 
Ruth, f and he promised to come back this 
evening. But I suppose the rain prevented 
him/ 

c Between twelve and one/ repeated Mr. 
Dunn, deliberately ; ' very good/ And with 
another apology for having disturbed her, he 



STILL WATERS. 157 

left the house before Ruth had gained courage 
to ask the cause of these inquiries. 

1 1 will tell you -what I have heard, Miss 
Lennox/ Sally said, drawing nearer to Ruth, 
in order to convey the intelligence in a mys- 
terious whisper ; c it may be all a lie, of course, 
but Mrs. Benson has come in with the wash, 
and she do say that there is a talk all over the 
town how Mr. Clinton has gone off with ever 
so much money, as his father did before him/ 

With white lips, which belied the haughty 
confidence of her tone, Ruth disclaimed any 
interest in such idle gossip. Yet Mrs. Lennox 
perceived that something was amiss, when she 
re-entered the dressing-room, and she asked 
what Sally had wanted. 

f Mr. Dunn called to ask for Jasper. I 
suppose he wanted him on business/ 

' It must have been pressing business which 
brought Mr. Dunn out on such a night as this/ 
said Isabel. ( He has a cat-like horror of wet- 
ting his feet, and, if ever guilty of a quotation, 
he would say that it was ' a naughty night to 
swim in/ } 

Ruth made no reply, but took up her knit- 
ting again, to the great detriment of the 
delicate feathery pattern; the needles would 



158 STILL WATERS. 

not obey her fingers, the stitches fell off, and 
all was soon in inextricable confusion. She 
laid it aside, and said, abruptly, ' Mamma, may I 
go to Bean-street, and see if Jasper is there P 

f Not in this rain, dear ; wait at least till 
the storm is over/ Mrs. Lennox answered in 
a tone which was imploring rather than autho- 
ritative, and Ruth acquiesced, feeling that the 
request was as unreasonable as she tried to 
hope her fears might be. 

After a few disjointed remarks, the party 
subsided into uneasy silence, and Ruth sat 
and listened to every sound with feverish eager- 
ness. The house-door was opened, and again 
shut, and before Isabel spoke, Ruth recognised 
the deliberate tread of Dr. Berkeley, ascending 
the stair. He was an habitual and admitted 
visitor to Mrs. Lennox's dressing-room, and 
entered without apology ; but it was easy to 
see that he had come this evening on no 
pleasant errand. 

Fearless as ever, Isabel asked the question, 
which Ruth's lips were powerless to utter : 
e Can you tell us what brought Mr. Dunn 
here after Jasper, on a Saturday night too, 
when all business ought to be wound up for 
the week V 



STILL WATERS. 159 

f Then you have not heard the report V said 
the Doctor. 

'What report V Isabel asked, and Dr. 
Berkeley looked wistfully at Ruth, and told 
his story with less than his usual distinctness. 

It was briefly this. Jasper returned to the 
office after his hurried visit to the Red House, 
and remained there until three o' clock, the 
hour at which it closed on Saturdays. He 
waited until the other clerks were gone, and 
then requested the advance of his half-year's 
salary, not yet due. His nervous and agitated 
manner led Mr. Dunn to believe that the 
request was in some way connected with his 
mother's death, and he complied without hesi- 
tation. He gave Jasper a cheque on the bank, 
and desired him to draw at the same time 
200Z. on Sir John Gascoigne's account, as Sir 
John had directed him to bring that sum to 
Dyne Court on the following morning. 

' I believed that I might trust Clinton with 
untold gold/ said Mr. Dunn, in detailing the 
circumstances to Dr. Berkeley ; ' his high sense 
of honour, his exactness and business-like 
habits, seemed to entitle him to the fullest 
confidence/ He became uneasy, however, 
when the hour for closing the bank elapsed. 



l6o STILL WATERS. 

and Jasper had not returned "with the sum in 
question. He sent to Bean-street, and learned 
that he had not been at home since the 
morning. He went himself in search of the 
bank-clerk, and ascertained that Jasper had 
drawn the full amount of his own cheque, as 
well as that on Sir John Gascoigne's account. 
And, for the last two hours, Mr. Dunn had 
been fruitlessly endeavouring to discover some 
trace of him. He applied to Dr. Berkeley 
among others, to whom he was more com- 
municative than he had been to Ruth. 

There was silence when the tale was told, 
the other three anxiously waiting for Ruth to 
speak first, in hopes of her throwing some 
light on the matter. But Ruth sat still, her 
lips compressed, her mother's hand firmly 
clasped in hers ; and at last Mrs. Lennox 
said — 

1 Does Mr. Dunn really suspect him of 
having absconded with the money? I can 
hardly believe it possible/ 

c It is not possible/ said Ruth ; and as she 
pressed her lips against her mother's hand, her 
tears fell hot upon it. 

' Then what are we to believe V said Dr. 
Berkeley. 



STILL WATERS. l6l 

' You may believe what you please/ said 
Ruth, calmly enough ; but the Doctor evidently 
felt, and was wounded by the suppressed bit- 
terness of the reply. 

* I assure you/ he said, f that I am unwil- 
ling — as unwilling as yourself — to condemn 
young Clinton, and I fully acquit him of any 
premeditated fraud. But his mind was un- 
hinged by the news of his mother's death, he 
felt miserable and unsettled, and his old dis- 
like to his position here had probably revived 
in full force. The temptation to avail himself 
of the means of escape placed within his reach 
may have appeared irresistible ; and if he had 
once turned his back on Holmdale, he would 
feel that the step was irretrievable, however 
soon remorse might follow/ 

Mrs. Lennox acquiesced in this explanation, 
while Ruth only looked scornful and indignant ; 
and she scarcely waited until the Doctor had 
finished speaking to repeat her former request. 

' Mamma, may I go to Bean -street V 

'If you wish it, dear/ said Mrs. Lennox, 
instinctively feeling that Ruth must not be this 
time gainsaid. Former misgivings revived, and 
she felt that it was an interest in the fate of one 
dearer than a brother which had blanched 

VOL. I. M 



l62 STILL WATERS. 

Ruth's face and lips, and quite overthrown her 
habitual composure. 

1 1 may go too, mamma ; the rain never 
hurts me/ said Isabel, scarcely waiting for her 
mother's permission before she left the room. 
The rain was over by the time the sisters 
were equipped ; and, as they passed along the 
narrow pavement, their progress was arrested 
more than once by the knots of idlers who 
gathered round the doors in busy colloquy. 
The snatches of conversation which reached 
their ears did not leave the subject of interest 
in doubt. 

' Treading in his father's footsteps,' one said ; 
and another observed, 'that he had always a 
down look, which could come to no good.' 

Ruth had scarcely asked herself what she 
was to gain by this visit to Bean-street ; and 
Martha, by whom she was eagerly welcomed, 
had nothing to impart which was not already 
known to the whole town, except her own pri- 
vate conviction that Jasper was the injured 
party. 

' Poor dear Master Jasper,' she said, queru- 
lously ; { if this was not the wickedest town in 
the kingdom, they would be content to take 
his life without taking his good name too. 



STILL WATERS. 163 



Depend upon it, he has been robbed and mur- 
dered on the highway, and his body thrown 
into the river. And, would you believe it, 
Miss Lennox, the constable, who ought to be 
looking after the murderers, is set to watch 
this very house, and take him to prison as 
soon as ever he comes home. As I told the 
man, he ought to be ashamed to lay hands on 
a much honester man than himself, for Mr. 
Clinton never touched a sixpence which was 
not his own, and paid all his bills regular and 
weekly; and to my knowledge Jack Lettice 
has a long score at the baker's/ 

' You have not seen Mr. Clinton since the 
morning?' said Ruth, recalling Martha from 
her indignant sense of the constable's delin- 
quencies. 

' Not since breakfast, Miss Lennox ; if break- 
fast I should call it, for he put nothing in his 
mouth ; and when I spoke to him about it, he 
just smiled in his grave way, and promised to 
do better at dinner. He seemed more put 
about this morning than he has been at all ; and 
looked as if he had not been to bed at all. He 
went away to the office, and I got his chops 
ready as usual, but he never came home, — so 
that's where it is.' 

M 2 



164 STILL WATERS. 

c And you do not know where he went V 

* Well/ said Martha, mysteriously, ' I would 
not tell Mr. Dunn, though he asked as many 
questions as if I had been on my oath ; but it's 
safe enough with you. The miller's boy was 
here with some flour, and he did say that he 
saw Mr. Clinton walking fast over the bridge 
above the mill at four o'clock. It's my 
belief that he was robbed and murdered as I 
said, or else killed by the thunder and light- 
ning and burnt to ashes, and so we shall 
never know ; and I only hope he is better off, 
poor boy, for they gave him no peace in this 
life.' 

Nothing was to be gained from this inco- 
herent invective. Ruth was sick at heart, 
faint, and weary, and she whispered to Isabel 
that they had better return home. She bade 
Martha tell her all she heard, and engaged to 
do the same, and then she wished her good- 
night, though she felt the words to be a 
mockery, when she looked again at the hard- 
featured face, so wretched, restless, and care- 
worn in its expression. 

It was growing dusk; Ruth was not so 
much absorbed by grief as to be unmindful 
of others, and she discovered something of 



STILL WATERS. 165 

timidity in Isabel's closer approach to her 
side, while she slipped her hand within her 
sister's. 

c I hope/ Ruth said, tenderly, : that Martha 
has not infected you with her foolish fancies. 
There has not been a highway robbery within 
the memory of man in this neighbourhood ; 
and it is simply impossible that it should have 
been attempted in open day between the Bank 
and Mr. Dunn's house. Since he did not go 
there at once, something of which we know 
nothing must have taken him elsewhere.' 

' I was thinking,' said Isabel, in a low, 
thrilling whisper, ' of the place where he was 
last seen. Do you remember how deep a pool 
the river makes beside the weir ? And I 
believe that Jasper is one of those who think 
death better than dishonour.' 

Ruth shivered, for Isabel had put into 
words her own secret dread; yet even in so 
doing, her confidence was restored. 

' Not so,' she said ; ' he might crave for 
death, and look and long for it J but he would 
no more dare to take his own life than to 
take the money of another man.' 

'Then what do you think has happened 
to him, Ruth?' 



1 66 STILL WATERS. 

' I do not know ; perhaps we never shall 
know in this life. His name will be blasted : 
you see that even the Doctor gives him up on 
the first breath of suspicion. But, until I hear 
the worst from his own lips, I shall disbelieve 
it all.' 

In her earnest tone there was something 
approaching to exultation; but this quickly 
gave place to depression and disappointment 
when she related to her mother the par- 
ticulars of their fruitless errand. Self-control, 
however, had returned, and she seemed only 
desirous to let the subject rest. She em- 
ployed herself in unravelling her tangled work, 
and to all appearance was fully absorbed by 
the occupation of taking up and letting down 
her stitches. But, as Mrs. Lennox lay and 
watched her profile, it was easy to read its 
wistful, waiting expression of intense anxiety; 
and she only wished to relax the strain by 
which such unnatural composure was main- 
tained. 

' Ruth, come to me/ she said, when Isabel 
had gone to bed, and they were left together. 
And Ruth came to her own low seat beside 
the sofa, and hid her face in her hands. 

' Was he then so dear V said Mrs. Lennox. 



STILL WATERS. 167 

f I loved him/ said Ruth, and the words 
were broken by a sobbing sigh; 'but oh, 
mamma, that is not the worst. He wished 
to speak to me this morning, and I saw that 
there was something on his mind, but Clara 
hurried me away. If I had stayed, all might 
have been prevented, and I shall never forgive 
myself — never forget his face of misery and 
perplexity/ 

' You were not to blame/ said Mrs. Lennox, 
soothingly ; ' but have you any suspicion of 
what he wished to speak V 

' I have none/ answered Ruth, briefly. 

' I wonder whether his disappearance can 
in any way be connected with that attach- 
ment of which you once told me. Was he 
still constant to his first love V 

1 1 — I believe so/ faltered Ruth ; and Mrs. 
Lennox was remorseful for having drawn the 
admission from her. 

' My poor child l J she said, lovingly, ten- 
derly ; and for a moment Ruth's eyes quivered 
with tears which were not all of bitterness. 
The story of her life for the last two years was 
known j she had loved Jasper, and her love was 
unrequited ; she had never loved him so en- 
tirely as now, when the only certainty re- 



1 68 STILL WATERS. 

specting his fate consisted in the irretrievable 
dishonour with which his name was branded. 
For dishonesty is not one of the many crimes 
on which the children of this world can afford 
to pass a lenient judgment. All this her mother 
knew, and yet she did not blame nor despise 
such weakness, nor do aught but pity her. 

Silently Ruth kissed her mother, and re- 
ceived her whispered blessing. Wearily she 
laid herself down, after seeking in vain to col- 
lect her thoughts for more than a broken, still- 
recurring prayer : 

1 Oh God, keep him safe ! Oh God, make 
me patient V She lay long awake, and when 
sleep at last closed her heavy eyelids, it brought 
no repose. The turn of the river of which 
Isabel had spoken, was brought vividly before 
her; and just as she approached its brink, 
she heard a sullen splash of waters, although 
no trace remained of the object which had passed 
through them, save the circles widening round. 
She tried to spring forward, but her feet seemed 
to be glued to the ground; and in the attempt 
to give utterance to stifled screams of terror, 
she awoke, trembling in every limb, and with 
a cold sweat upon her brow. 



STILL WATERS. 1 69 



CHAPTER XIV. 

The bubble reputation. 

As You Like It. 

TJITTH and Isabel were at breakfast when 
■*-* Mr. Dunn rode by the windows on his 
strong black horse. 

' I suppose/ Ruth said, ' that he is on his 
way to Dyne Court, to tell Sir John, and ask 
him what is to be done/ 

6 Because it is his money. I had not thought 
of that. Oh, Ruth, Clara can do anything 
with Sir John, and a word from you might 
set all right j at least make them give up try- 
ing to find him. Cannot you go to Dyne Court, 
or write and ask Clara to come here V 

6 Oh no/ said Ruth, shrinking from the sug- 
gestion ; ' I could not see Clara/ 

' Not if it would be of use to Jasper V 

f It would be of no use. I believe the best we 
can hope is, that he may be found and brought 
back. Then the truth must be known, and he 
will be cleared/ 



17° STILL WATERS. 

' Then why, Ruth, should he have gone off 
in this way V 

' I don't know ; I am tired of wondering, 
and I can't talk of it. Let us go to the school, 
Isabel dear, and try to gather some Sunday 
thoughts/ 

1 1 did not mean to vex you, Ruth/ whispered 
Isabel, as she twined her arm round her sister's 
waist, and pressed her soft cheek to her lips. 
Ruth returned the embrace, and answered, 
hurriedly : 

1 You have not vexed me, dear ; I am vexed 
with myself, because I have no patience.' 

Patience was sorely needed this Sunday 
morning. On the way to the school the sisters 
were accosted by several of their acquaintance, 
anxious to know if there were any tidings of 
'that unfortunate young man.' Ruth found 
her class dull of comprehension, fidgety, and 
unruly, and the silence which she was unable 
to enforce reigned while the teacher of a neigh- 
bouring class spoke of Mr. Clinton to the 
schoolmistress in a mysterious and perfectly 
audible whisper. Even in church she was not 
safe from the subject. Mr. Smith, the vicar, 
was, as the Doctor mildly remarked, e not satis- 
factory.' The living was small, and his family 



STILL WATERS. 171 

large, so he took pupils and kept no curate, 
considering that his clerical duties were amply 
fulfilled by the impressive character of his ser- 
mons. There could be no question respecting 
the impression which he made that day ; when 
he gave out the text, ' Let him that thinketh 
he standeth take heed lest he fall/ there was 
an audible rustling of silks, as ladies settled 
themselves in an attitude v of awakened atten- 
tion, nor did he disappoint the expectations 
thus excited. His pointed allusions to Jasper's 
mysterious disappearance called the indignant 
colour to the cheeks of Ruth and Isabel, while 
the greater part of the congregation returned 
home to discuss the sermon and their roast 
beef, together with the additional zest of self- 
complacency. 

' What a shame !' exclaimed Isabel, as soon 
as they had passed through the churchyard 
gate. 

And Ruth's lip quivered, as she replied : 

( It shows Jasper's utter friendlessness, that 
Mr. Smith should say such things, knowing 
that there is not one who has the right to pro- 
test against his being condemned unheard.' 

They passed the Dyne Court carriage, stand- 
ing at Mr. Dunn's door ; but it was empty, to 



172 STILL WATEES. 

Ruth's great relief. She was not, however, to 
escape the dreaded infliction, for Clara had 
already alighted at the Red House, and way- 
laid her in the passage. 

'Are yon here?' Ruth said, with undis- 
sembled annoyance ; ' I must go up-stairs to see 
how mamma is.' 

'No, I have you first/ said Clara, firmly 
clasping Ruth's hand ; c Isabel may perform 
that filial duty, and you shall come into the 
study with me, not for long/ she added, plead- 
ingly ; ' do be amiable for once. If you are so 
morose, I shall conclude that you are afraid of 
revealing some secret which it might be conve- 
nient to know/ 

Rather than to continue the discussion 071 
the stairs for Sarah's benefit, Ruth suffered her 
tormentor to lead her into the study, and there 
prepared with what philosophy she might for 
the examination which was to follow. 

' Now, Ruth, you shall tell me all about this 
shocking story of Mr. Clinton.' 

f If I knew more than you do/ said Ruth, 
resolutely, e 1 would not say one syllable to one 
who only intends to make light of it.' 

' If I were not in earnest, Ruth, I should 
not have come straight from church without 



STILL WATERS. 1 73 

going back for luncheon, though I am always 
particularly hungry on Sundays, and Lord 
Edward was unusually agreeable. Seriously, 
I was quite shocked when Mr. Dunn came in 
with the news ; but that was ages ago — before 
we had done breakfast — and the more I think 
of it, the more incredible it seems. Mr. Clin- 
ton was always held up as a model of goodness 
by you, who are many degrees better than the 
rest of the world. And then it occurs to me — 
but of course I may be wrong — that my money, 
or papa's, which is much the same thing, is the 
very last which one would naturally expect him 
to abscond with/ 

And Clara looked up, an arch smile dim- 
pling her cheeks, while a very becoming smile 
enhanced their bloom. Ruth turned her head 
away in the struggle to reply with calmness, 
f Nothing is astonishing, Clara, except that 
you should first assume his guilt, and then 
speak of it lightly/ 

'Then you do not believe it? However, 
you must not be too severe on me for falling 
into the vulgar error, for papa and Mr. Dunn 
have so little doubt on the matter, that the 
only question between them was, what mea- 
sures must be taken to apprehend him — for 



174 STILL WATERS. 

the poor young man's own sake, as papa says, 
and not because lie is anxious to recover the 
money. And by the way, Ruth, it occurs to 
me that Mr. Clinton must have come here 
yesterday for the sake of confiding his designs 
to you. He looked extremely disconcerted 
when I carried you off/ 

1 So I believe/ said Ruth ; and the gravity 
of this reply provoked Clara's merriment. 

f So you believe ! It was more than I did 
when I said so. My dear Ruth ! I suppose 
you will say next, that if he had asked your 
advice, you would have sanctioned his pro- 
ceedings V 

' Laugh if you will/ said Ruth ; ' laugh off, 
if you can, your share of responsibility, in not 
suffering me to wait and hear what he had to say. 
As long as I live I shall not forget my own/ 

f Or perhaps, Ruth, you may acquiesce as 
readily in another bright idea which has come 
into my head. You take his defection as much 
to heart as if there had been something closer 
than the philosophical friendship which I had 
imagined to be your only bond of union/ 

Here Clara paused, sobered by the effect of 
her light words, which cut so deep. Ruth hid 
her face in an agony of shame and humiliation, 



STILL WATERS. 1 75 

her colour went and came, and she strove in 
vain to stem the torrent of an uncontrollable 
burst of tears. Clara, who had hitherto con- 
sidered her impassible, was terrified by her 
hysterical sobs, and clung about her, imploring 
f Ruth, her dear Ruth/ to look up and speak 
to her, not to cry, not to mind her foolish 
words. She drew down the hands with which 
Ruth had covered her face, and fondled and 
caressed them; but such endearments could 
not restore Ruth's self-control. 

Just then the carriage stopped at the door, 
and Clara rightly judged that Ruth desired 
nothing so much as to be left alone. 

'Tell papa that I am coming/ she said, 
going to the door to intercept Sally's entrance, 
and then returning to hang about Ruth once 
more. 

' Dear Ruth ! I could not guess that you 
cared so much. I will never mention Mr. 
Clinton's name again, for fear of vexing you, 
and I shall insist on papa's leaving him to go 
his own way. Will you forgive me then V 

Ruth replied with a kiss, since she could 
not find voice to speak, for she was touched 
by her words, without, however, attaching much 
weight to them. But for once in her life Clara 



Ij6 STILL WATERS. 

was in earnest, and though she found Sir John 
impressed with a moral sense of the duty of 
bringing Jasper to justice, she did not rest 
until he had acceded to her wishes. Late in 
the evening of that long, dreary day, Ruth 
received the following note : — 

' My dearest Ruth, — The bearer of this 
note carries also a missive to Mr. Dunn, de- 
siring him to set no detectives on Mr. Clin- 
ton's track, and refusing to prosecute if he is 
found. I hope that you are satisfied. 

' Your most affectionate 

( Clara/ 

Ruth's reply was even more brief: — 

f Dear Clara, — Thanks for what you have 
done. 

( Yours ever, 

' R. L.' 

Her thanks were heartfelt; for, notwith- 
standing what she had said to Isabel, there 
was indeed relief in laying her aching head 
on the pillow without feeling that she might 
raise it to hear that Jasper had been appre- 
hended and brought back as a spectacle for 
the curiosity and pitying contempt of his 



STILL WATERS. 1 77 

former associates in Holmdale. Unquestionably 
Sir John's lenity was the cause of a certain 
degree of disappointment, and the little world 
considered itself defrauded of its just share 
of excitement and virtuous indignation. But 
Sir John himself, when once he had yielded to 
Clara's wishes, coinciding as they did with his 
naturally easy temper, could not be induced to 
alter his decision, although Mr. Dunn urged 
stringent measures as a satisfaction to himself. 

Clara also fulfilled her other engagement, 
to make no further allusion to Jasper Clinton ; 
and such unusual forbearance gave her an 
additional claim to Ruth's gratitude, and 
enabled her to endure attentions which were 
in themselves rather oppressive. Clara wasted 
much importunity in trying to prevail on her 
to make a visit of some days at Dyne Court, 
in order to divert her mind. 

'Lord Edward is surely staid and sensible 
enough to suit you, and I am quite ready to 
make him over to you. And there are several 
other people in the house, and so much music 
and pleasant talk going on, that I am sure you 
would be amused/ 

Ruth felt as if she should never be amused 
more. By the end of the third day the in- 

VOL. I. N 



178 STILL WATERS. 

terest in Jasper's mysterious disappearance had 
in great measure subsided, the eager specula- 
tion concerning his fate was over, and his name 
was seldom spoken. But in Ruth's breast the 
gnawing sense of care was more keenly felt, 
the suspense and miserable uncertainty was 
more intolerable. It almost seemed as if Jas- 
per had been gone for years instead of days, 
when the tidings which she had ceased to ex- 
pect at last arrived. 

As usual, when the postman's knock was 
succeeded by Sally's entrance, Isabel sprang 
forward to claim the letter, with the conviction 
that it must come from David. 

' It is for you, Ruth,' she said, in a tone of 
disappointment, quickly changed into joyful re- 
cognition. ' Oh, Ruth ! I think, I am certain 
that it is from Jasper.' 

The characters in which the address was 
traced seemed to dance before Ruth's eyes 
even when she had steadied her trembling 
hand; the lines themselves were straggling 
and uneven, but so few that they could not, 
under all these difficulties, take long to read. 

' I know not why I write, since I may tell 
nothing which you do not already know — that 



STILL WATERS. 179 

dishonour is now not merely my inheritance 
but my own allotted portion, and that I am 
faint-hearted enough to shrink from the infamy 
I have incurred. Some such end I ever fore- 
saw ; but it is not therefore the more tolerable, 
and you know that the bitterness is increased 
tenfold by the knowledge that she will be 
taught to associate my name with disgrace 
and the basest ingratitude. My only hope is, 
that she may soon forget that she ever knew 
me, as you, Ruth, must also forget. 
' God bless you, dear Ruth. 

f J. C. J 

( Look there/ said Ruth, pointing to the 
concluding words; ' could he have written 
those words if he were not guiltless V 

' But is there no explanation V Isabel asked. 
f Does he not say why he went, nor where he 
is going V 

It had not before occurred to Ruth that 
such information was wanting, but she found, 
on referring to the envelope, that it bore the 
Liverpool postmark. f He must/ she said, 
faintly, ( be going out of England — to America 
or elsewhere ; indeed, he implies that we shall 
never see him more/ Then she added, with 

N % 



180 STILL WATERS. 

something of wounded feeling, as she saw that 
Isabel still looked dissatisfied, ' Trust me, Isabel, 
if you will not trust him. I do not show you 
the letter, because I believe that it was meant 
only for myself. I shall not show it even to 
mamma, unless she desires it/ 

Mrs. Lennox forbore to desire anything 
which deepened the sadness on a face already 
too sad to be seen without pain, but she was in 
truth as little satisfied as Isabel with Ruth's 
reserve, believing that Jasper had made some 
admission which shook her former confidence 
in his innocence. But her trust was in reality 
as fully given as before, and her reluctance to 
show the letter arose from the allusion which 
it contained to his love for Clara Gascoigne ; 
that love w T hich would now appear more 
visionary and presumptuous thau ever. She 
might well suppose that these words were 
meant to meet no eyes but hers, and she was 
unconscious how far her secret inclinations 
coincided with his wishes. 

Sally's discretion was less remarkable than 
that of Jasper's former attendant Martha ; and 
it was not long before surmises of the truth, 
founded on Isabel's unguarded expression, found 
their way into Mrs. Dunn's nursery, and from 



STILL WATERS. l8l 

thence to the lady herself. In a flutter of ex- 
citement Mrs. Dunn informed her husband, on 
his return from the office, that 'the Lennoxes 
had had a letter from young Clinton, and they 
must intend to keep it very close, for the Doctor, 
who was here to-day, certainly knew nothing 
of it.' 

Mr. Dunn sifted the story with his habitual 
caution; and as its authority appeared to be 
tolerably good, he decided on going to the Red 
House himself. ' For my own satisfaction/ he 
said, ' I am resolved to go to the bottom of the 
matter/ 

Ruth instinctively knew on what errand he 
was come when he was ushered into her 
mother's dressing-room, and she continued to 
ply her needle without raising her eyes to re- 
turn his greeting. She was not long left in 
suspense, for Mr. Dunn's first words were ad- 
dressed to herself. ' I have taken the liberty 
of calling/ he said, ' on account of the report 
which reached me, that you have heard of, or 
from, Jasper Clinton. May I ask if it is true ?> 

' It is true/ said Ruth. 

' And I presume that he attempts some ex- 
planation of his inexplicable conduct/ 

With an expression of scorn, more often seen 



1 82 STILL WATERS. 

on Isabel's lip than on her sister's, Ruth re- 
plied : f He says nothing which would, I be- 
lieve, be considered satisfactory by yon/ 

Mr. Dunn was not deficient in the assurance 
and pertinacity so essential to success in the 
legal profession, and he rejoined with perfect 
coolness, ' Perhaps, Miss Lennox, you will allow 
me to judge for myself. Tf you show me the 
letter, I will engage that it shall go no farther/ 

Ruth turned her imploring eyes on her 
mother, but Mrs. Lennox only looked distressed, 
and doubtful how to act. Isabel, however, 
said bluntly, { I don't know why you should 
see Ruth's letter, Mr. Dunn, since Sir John 
does not intend to prosecute Jasper.' 

i You will allow, however,' replied Mr. Dunn, 
' that I have a personal interest in the matter, 
as I was in some sense responsible for the loss. 
And since Sir John's leniency has secured 
Clinton from any evil consequences, surely 
Miss Lennox will not refuse me the opportu- 
nity of clearing myself.' 

' Among all the versions of the story which go 
abroad,' said Mrs. Lennox, ' there is none which 
casts the slightest reflection upon you.' 

1 Not at present, perhaps ; but the story 
may be cast up against me at some future 



STILL WATERS. 1 83 

time, unless I have the means of vindicating 
myself/ 

No one answered, and it did not seem 
that Ruth was disposed to make any sacrifice 
to avert this possible hazard of Mr. Dunn's 
reputation. He was resolved, however, to make 
another effort. f For your own sake, Miss 
Lennox, I think you must admit the impro- 
priety of withholding the knowledge you pos- 
sess of such a questionable affair/ 

This argument had its effect on Mrs. Lennox, 
who said, after a moment's hesitation, ' My 
dear Ruth, will it not be well to let Mr. Dunn 
see the letter, since he has engaged that it shall 
be safe with him V 

1 It will be safer here/ said Ruth, vehe- 
mently, while she drew out the letter and 
threw it on the small bright fire which the 
chilliness of the evening had rendered neces- 
sary. It was soon consumed, but not before 
Ruth had repented of the hasty impulse to 
which she had yielded. She felt that she had 
done her utmost to frustrate the last hope 
of clearing Jasper's name. Her mother was 
grieved; Mr. Dunn seriously offended; and, 
above all, there was the bitter consciousness 
that those parting words, so unspeakably pre- 



184 STILL WATERS. 

cious to her, were now crumbled to ashes. 
She burst into tears, and quickly left the 
room. 

Yery stiffly Mr. Dunn arose, and wished 
Mrs. Lennox good evening, and returned to 
detail all the circumstances to his wife. He 
summed np the whole with the- remark, that 
the affair was extremely discreditable to Miss 
Lennox. Of course it was evident that Clinton 
had not a single extenuating circumstance to 
mention, or she would have been ready enough 
to bring it forward. 

Mrs. Dunn fully assented, and she also 
ascertained that her intimate friend Mrs. Smith 
was of the same opinion. The two ladies 
ajrreed that there could be but one motive for 
Ruth's conduct. 

1 Though how/ Mrs. Smith added, c a sen- 
sible girl, as Ruth Lennox always appeared to 
be, could fall in love with that grave, heavy 
young man, one can hardly conceive. He had 
a bad countenance and no manner ; and Ruth 
has had so many advantages in her intimacy 
with Miss Gascoigne, that she ought to have 
known better/ 

Such remarks could not circulate through 
Holmdale without coming to the knowledge 



STILL WATERS. 1 85 

of the Lennoxes ; but Isabel and her mother 
were more affected by them than Ruth herself. 
Passive, patient, and indifferent, the shadow lay 
too heavily on her spirit to be either deepened 
or disturbed by such passing breezes. 

There was one, however, who did not sub- 
mit so patiently to such insinuations. Placid 
as his temper was on all other occasions, Dr. 
Berkeley resented any aspersion on Ruth or 
discussion of her sentiments with indignant 
quickness ; and when it was discovered that 
the Doctor was ' rather touchy' on the subject, 
it was avoided in his presence. His opinion, 
however, had a certain weight ; and some began 
to admit that Ruth's determination to stand 
by Jasper was natural at least, if not quite 
justifiable, and that it might possibly arise 
from no deeper feeling than their youthful 
friendship. 

1 Or, if she has been in love/ Miss Perrott 
said, plaintively, l so other people have been 
before, and yet they get over it and become 
sensible women after all/ 

As most of these differing opinions found 
their way to the Red House, Isabel chafed 
and fretted, protesting that she would never 
speak to Mrs. Dunn again ; and she asked 



1 86 STILL WATERS. 

Ruth whether she would not now admit that 
her dear friends in Holnidale Mere far from 
perfection. But Ruth answered with a grave 
smile that, if there was any change, it was in 
themselves rather than in others ; and Mrs. 
Dunn's visits were returned as regularly as 
they had ever been. 



STILL WATERS. 187 



CHAPTER XV. 

A tranquil spirit, as of one 

Who now in happy languor rests, 
Sore-wearied with his work well done, 

But through well-doing richly blest ; 
A spirit, as of one who broods 

On sorrows past, but unforgot, 
Whose heart, like heaven, the rainiest moods 

Leave softer, and without a blot. 

Lyxch. 

< A ND now, Isabel, tell me all about every- 
■£*- thing/ 

It was David Lennox who made this com- 
prehensive request, on the day of his return 
to Holmdale after four years' absence. They 
sat together in the garden, Isabel clinging to 
her brother's side, as if unable to convince 
herself of the reality of her happiness, her eyes 
glittering, her cheeks flushing with proud plea- 
sure. 

' Oh, David ! how very glad I am to have 
you once more/ 

' Cela va sans dire. I am glad too, yet it 



1 88 STILL WATERS. 

is not all pleasure. You had not prepared me, 
Isabel, for the change in my mother/ 

{ Perhaps I do not see it as you do. It 
has been gradual ; and then any little thing 
upsets her, and your coming is not a little 
thing, so no wonder she looks nervous and 
shaken/ 

' And, Ruth '/ continued David. ' It gave 
me a shock to reflect that there is little more 
than a year between us — she looks positively 
old and faded/ 

' Ah, Ruth is changed/ said Isabel, sadly, 
while she looked up to the window, which was 
carefully closed, and darkened with jalousies ; 
'but can you wonder, when even a plant is 
blanched and sickly which does not taste fresh 
air nor see the glorious sunshine ? Ruth sits 
always in that close, dark room, and her nights 
too are broken/ 

1 1 remember/ said David, ' you wrote that 
mamma did not care to have any one about 
her but Ruth/ 

'No/ said Isabel, the tears rising in her 
eyes ; c it is not that Ruth keeps me away, for 
she knows how I long to be of use; but it 
tires mamma to have more than one person in 
the room, and I think she has forgotten how 



STILL WATERS. 189 

old I am now — really quite grown up, and able 
to do many things for her, if she would let me 
try/ 

' You may well say that you have grown 
old, and I am not sure if that is not the most 
lamentable transformation of all/ said David, 
regarding his sister, however, with anything 
but dissatisfaction. 'With your hat tied so 
decorously under your chin, and your brown- 
holland dress without a soil or tumble, no one 
would suppose that you had ever run wild. 
You have positively become a young lady/ 

' Not before it was time, David, unless I 
preferred skipping the intermediate stage, and 
landing in middle age. You know I was 
twenty last June. But how long you must 
have lived in barracks, not to know batiste 
from brown holland — my very best summer 
guise, which I put on on purpose to do you 
honour/ 

' And your gloves upon your hands/ said 
David, continuing his inspection; 'how that 
reform would have rejoiced Jasper V 

' Yes ; what a tribulation my dress was to 
Jasper, and how often he admonished me not 
to throw on my things headlong ! And he 
was still living among us when you were last 



190 STILL WATERS. 

here, David. I know how Ruth must be re- 
minded of him in seeing you again/ 

' What were really her relations with Jasper ? 
Through Gascoigne I hear more of the Holm- 
dale gossip than you deign to impart; and 
from something which the little heiress said 
or wrote to him, he gathered that Ruth was 
still wearing the willow on Clinton's account/ 

' That is one of Clara's inconsequent stories/ 
said Isabel, indignantly ; ' she knows very well 
that, if Jasper was in love with any one, it was 
with herself/ 

' Clinton in love with Miss Gascoigne '/ re- 
peated David, with an incredulous whistle ; 
' that is rather preposterous. And it was a 
singular proof of attachment to abscond with 
her father's money/ 

f Oh, David, you must not say that — at least 
not before Ruth; for she does not believe it 
yet/ 

'Then what does she think has become of 
him?' 

' I cannot tell. Since she received that 
letter from him she has scarcely mentioned 
his name ; but I know quite well that he is not 
forgotten, and she seems to have some vague 
hope of his return. You know the window of 



STILL WATERS. 191 

her room is in the opposite angle to mine, and 
I have often seen her open the shntter to look 
up and down the street, and then draw back 
with such a face of wistful sadness, as if it were 
quite a fresh disappointment/ 

( Which, you must allow me to remark, 
Isabel, bears out Clara's romance, rather than 
yours. I am sorry for Ruth, and for Clin- 
ton also, be he an honest man or a thief; 
for he was certainly a very good fellow. I 
drove through Bean-street on my way here, 
and I see the old house is to let/ 

' Yes ; it has been uninhabited since Martha 
gave it up two years ago. She quarrelled with 
her lodgers, and railed at the Holmdale people 
generally, until at last she gave up the place 
altogether, declaring it was too wicked to 
live in/ 

I Shook off the dust of her feet and departed. 
Now, Isabel, don't look shocked at that small 
levity. I am afraid that Ruth has made you 
as puritanical as herself/ 

I I wish she had, but I shall never be as 
good as Ruth. Not that I allow that she is 
puritanical, for the more severe she is on her- 
self, the greater allowance she makes for others. 
She never seems to have a will of her own, or 



1 9 3 STILL WATERS. 

a wish to look beyond the day's work before 
her/ 

' And you are not so contented ? Certainly 
your life must be sufficiently lonely and mono- 
tonous, if Ruth is so much with my mother/ 

1 It is wrong to say so ; I should not say it 
to any one but you/ answered Isabel, ' and 
really there is much that is pleasant. We have 
the run of the Dyne Court library, and then I 
am never tired of gardening, and you will have 
to confess, Mr. Lennox, that the borders of 
scarlet geranium at Dyne Court are not half so 
gorgeous as mine. But sometimes I have a 
foolish craving for something less trivial and 
limited than the tone of Holmdale society, and 
I should like to have a peep into the gay world 
of which Clara talks so much, if I were sure 
that it would not make me frivolous/ 

1 Poor Isabel V said David, pulling back her 
curls that he might see her glowing cheek, the 
action pleasantly recalling bygone days ; ' what 
a humiliating confession ! We will go and see 
the gay world represented at Dyne Court, that 
is, if we are ever asked/ 

' We have been asked often enough hitherto. 
Clara is still constant to her first fancy to Ruth, 
and is always pressing her to come; but she 



STILL WATERS. 1 93 

cannot leave mamma, and they don't like me 
to go alone. I fancy that there are strange 
doings when the house is full, for the last 
semblance of restraint departed with Madame 
La Kue, and Clara has it all her own way/ 

f Gascoigne says/ replied David, c that his 
cousin is the greatest coquette of his acquain- 
tance, and as he is himself in great request in 
ladies' society, I imagine that he has some ex- 
perience of the species. I suppose that she 
might have married three or four times over, if 
she had chosen/ 

' I suppose so. At the end of every season 
they come down here with a fresh train. Lord 
Edward Lynmere is the only remaining one of 
the original set — the Forlorn Hope, as she calls 
him — and she uses him rather better than any 
of the others, although without caring for him 
in the least/ 

'I should think/ said David, 'that such 
proceedings must outrage Sir John's views of 
propriety. 

' Very possibly. She sometimes complains 
that papa has been dreadfully savage; which 
means, I imagine, that he has administered a 
lecture, only with the effect of making her 
more wilful than before. Her power over him 

VOL. I. O 



194 STILL WATERS. 

is as absolute as over every one else, and I 
don't wonder at it, for she is certainly very 
attractive, and so pretty. She looks as young 
and fresh as she did at that Christmas party, 
years ago/ 

1 So Gascoigne told me ; adding, that there 
was no recipe for wearing well so effectual as 
that of having no heart. I rather think he acts 
on that principle himself/ 

f Why, David, I fancied Captain Gascoigne 
was your best friend, and I was so giad to 
hear of his coming to Dyne Court this week. 
I have a pleasant recollection of his good- 
nature to me at that same Christmas party/ 

1 He is pleasant enough/ said David ; ' quite 
the pleasantest man in the regiment, and I like 
him very much. But I don't know that I wish 
you to like him. Tell me about the Doctor ; 
does he haunt the house as much as ever V 

e The Doctor is flourishing/ replied Isabel ; 
' an argument against that heart-less theory, for 
I am sure that he is large-hearted enough, and 
he is really quite rajeuni, or else I have grown 
up to him. He is more spruce in his dress, and 
his hair is not so ragged, and no greyer than 
when we first knew him. But there is one 
ominous sign of advancing years, and that is his 



STILL WATERS. 1 95 

touchiness when I assnme that he is in the last 
stage of decrepitude ; he takes infinite pains 
to prove that forty-two is no such unparalleled 
age; in which, I dare say, he is right/ 

' A candid admission/ said David, laughing, 
c from which I infer that you and the Doctor 
fence as much ever/ 

' No, indeed, David. I have grown too old 
to be saucy, and so we are amicable, and rather 
appallingly sensible. He has transferred all his 
attentions to me, for he and Ruth are not the 
friends they were. She resented, or he fancied 
she resented, his lukewarmness in Jasper's 
cause, when Holmdale uplifted its voice against 
him. 'But what could I say/ the Doctor 
asked, piteously, ' when I had no means of 
disproving the accusations, and scarcely knew 
how to disbelieve them ?' And, though his 
impression of Ruth's coolness is in great mea- 
sure imaginary, there is certainly a constraint 
between them/ 

'You must tell me no more about Ruth/ 
said David, ' for every fresh disclosure is more 
alarming than the last. Where does she mean 
to end, if even the Doctor is too secular for 
her?' 

' Oh David, you misunderstand me. In- 

O 2 



ig6 STILL WATERS. 

deed, we had better not talk of Ruth until you 
have learnt to think of her as she deserves/ 

David was amused by her tone of tremulous 
earnestness, and not remorseful for the emotion 
he had aroused, since he had no desire to forego 
a brother's privilege of teasing. Yet he felt 
guilty when, before the smile had passed from 
his lips, Ruth herself came along the gravel 
walk to join them. As David had hinted, her 
air was not consistent with her real age, for, 
although she might only count twenty-three 
summers, all youthful roundness of outline had 
departed from form and feature, her cheek was 
wan and faded, and the lassitude of her move- 
ments contrasted sadly with Isabel's elastic 
step, as she bounded towards her. 

' Oh Ruth ! I am so glad that you have 
come out. I began to be afraid that you 
meant to sit at home all the afternoon, and it 
is so pleasant here — really quite hot/ 

' Quite hot !' repeated David. ' What would 
you say if we had you on the Rock ? I have 
had secret longings for a great-coat/ 

' No, really ! are you chilly ? I will fetch 
you two or three great -coats in a minute ; or 
we can go in and light a fire. I quite forgot 
your tropical habits/ 



STILL WATERS. 1 97 

f Considering that I have never been south 
of Malta, it is creditable to your geographical 
knowledge to remember them now/ said David ; 
and Ruth laughed a pleasant laugh, which 
showed that she could still afford to be light- 
hearted. 

( It is not my fault, David, nor yet Miss 
Lawly's, that Isabel's education was so neg- 
lected. Indeed, I think that Miss Lawly had 
abdicated before you left Holmdale, because 
Isabel was so determined to be a self-taught 
genius, that she never would learn anything in 
a legitimate way/ 

' You prosaic people V retorted Isabel ; ' if 
you had any imagination, you would know that 
I only wished you to infer that the sun beats 
upon the Rock with almost tropical fervour, 
and that the people are indolent and chilly. 

I believe that I know more of Gibraltar than 
either of you, for I have read up the subject 
ever since the regiment was quartered there. 
And now do tell me, David, which coat you 
would like/ 

f No, I shall not/ said David, composedly. 

I I may have the tropical failings of being indo- 
lent and chilly ; and in a day or two I suppose 
we shall fall into our old relations, but as yet 



198 STILL WATERS. 

I ana not disposed to send you on my errands. 
Besides, I shall be able to endure the severity 
of the climate for another half-hour, if you will 
let me have the sunny end of the bench/ 

The change was effected, and the half-hour 
passed pleasantly in that desultory talk, 
glancing on every subject and exhausting 
none, which a family re-union involves. But 
when the shadow of the wall overspread the 
last strip of chequered sunshine, Buth insisted 
that they should go home, since any chill 
might bring on a return of the Bock fever 
which had obliged David to apply for sick- 
leave. ' And besides/ the invariable con- 
clusion of her brief holiday-making — ' and 
besides, mamma must be wondering what has 
become of me/ 

'You are right, Isabel/ said David, as they 
sauntered more leisurely after her along the 
path. l Buth has lost nothing but her good 
looks. She is not alarmingly virtuous, and 
she laughs at my wit, and tolerates my levity 
more readily than in days of yore/ 

Buth returned to her mother's room. The 
atmosphere, close and sickly as Isabel had de- 
scribed it to be, seemed more oppressive after 
the freshness of the outer air, and eyes less 



STILL WATERS. 1 99 

accustomed to the obscure half-light would have 
found it difficult to discern the objects in the 
room ; but she made her way with ease to her 
mother's sofa, and said presently, as she 
caressed her feverish and wasted hand, f You 
look so tired, madre mia.' 

'Yes, I am tired/ said Mrs. Lennox; and 
in her voice there was the plaintive and almost 
querulous note which betrays sleeplessness and 
wearing pain. ' David's voice was too much 
for me, though I did not like to vex him, poor 
boy, by asking him to speak lower/ 

' He has not quite learned to modulate his 
voice to suit a sick room/ said Ruth ; c but 
still it has a pleasant tone. And his laugh, 
mamma — he did not laugh here for fear of 
tiring you, but it is quite as joyous as ever/ 

1 Yes ; it is his old laugh — I heard him be- 
low the windows. And so you don't think 
him changed, Ruth.' 

' Not spoiled, mamma, in the very least. 
He is so full of home-feelings, very frank in 
telling of his doings, and he and Isabel are 
as devoted to each other as ever. I was afraid 
that Isabel's anticipations were too great to 
be realized, but she is overflowing with hap- 
piness/ 



2CO STILL WATERS. 

' I am glad to hear it/ said Mrs. Lennox, 
1 and you ought to be with them, Ruth, in- 
stead of moping here/ 

1 1 am not moping, mamma/ said Ruth, a 
little wounded by her words, and then detect- 
ing the arriere pensee ; c I thought you might 
like to hear David's news at second-hand, but 
perhaps even my voice tires you/ 

1 Not your voice, Ruth ; but my hearing is so 
painfully alive to-day, that any little thing tires 
me, and the click of your knitting -pins is such 
an irritating noise, and I know you don't like 
to be idle/ 

At other times Mrs. Lennox had found plea- 
sure in watching the movement of Ruth's deft 
fingers, so this source of annoyance was invo- 
luntary; but Ruth was remorseful, and laid her 
occupation aside, declaring that she was glad of 
an excuse for idleness. 

Mrs. Lennox was soon so interested by her 
report of David's talk that she was not at 
liberty to obey the summons to tea until her 
brother and sister had finished their meal, and 
had sauntered out again to enjoy the sweet 
summer twilight. The tea was cold, and the 
aspect of the deserted table calculated to offend 
an uncertain appetite, so her cup was soon 



STILL WATERS. 201 

pushed aside, and she crept into a corner of 
the sofa, where, with the consciousness of being 
unobserved, came the expression of wistful sad- 
ness, in which the lines of her face so readily 
settled. She might chide her rebellious heart 
for the flood of recollections awakened by 
David's return, for the pining desire to see 
once more the form and features which were 
almost as familiar as those of her brother, and 
ever associated in her memory of their boyish 
days ; she might reproach herself for such re- 
pinings at a time when she ought only to have 
been glad and grateful, but still her thoughts 
went and came, and she was weary, too weary 
to resist them. 

Where was Jasper now ? — homeless, friend- 
less, perhaps not only in want of all which 
makes life lovely, but of its common neces- 
saries ; his footsteps, wherever they might lead 
him, still tracked by a sense of dishonour and 
a morbid fear of detection. On one contin- 
gency Ruth refused to dwell. She would not 
suppose that the disgrace was merited, either 
by his past or present conduct, for her belief in 
his innocence was cherished as trustfully as 
ever. ' And wherever he may be/ she thought, 
'he is, and will always be, in His hand — 



202 STILL WATERS. 

whether still a wanderer and an outcast here, 
or, if his day of trial is ended, and he is gone 
where no harm can touch him, and the strife 
of tongues not come nigh to vex him. If he 
were still alive, we should surely in all these 
years have had some communication/ And in 
thus admitting the possibility of his death, 
there was less bitterness than in the thoughts 
which had gone before. 

By such musings Ruth's brief intervals of 
solitude and repose were generally occupied. 
When the strain of continual watchfulness in- 
volved in her attendance on her mother was 
relaxed, she had not energy to prevent their 
recurrence, though well aware that they were 
neither wise nor salutary. What wonder that 
her cheek was pallid, her eye heavy, her form 
drooping ? — so that when David and Isabel re- 
entered, their bright young faces, glowing with 
health and animation, might almost seem to 
deny any kindred between them. 



STILL WATERS. 203 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Love wakes men, once a life-time each : 
They lift their heavy lids and look ; 

And, lo ! what one sweet page can teach 
They read with joy, then shut the book ; 

And some give thanks, and some blaspheme, 
And most forget. 

The Angel in the Souse. 

'"REMEMBER, Evelyn/ said Clara Gas- 
-" coigne, on the following morning, as she 
left her cousin still lingering over his late 
breakfast; ' remember that you must not be 
beguiled into farming "with papa, nor walking 
with Lord Edward, for I shall want you to ride 
with me to Holmdale/ 

' Of course, — to captivate young Lennox/ 
said Captain Gascoigne, with a smile of slight 
sarcasm. 

Clara's colour was a little heightened, but 
she disdained to notice the imputation, only 
saying, as she reached the door, ' Do you in- 
tend to go with me or not? for I can ask 
Lord Edward to be my squire/ 

c l am quite at your service, Cousin Clara/ 



204 STILL WATERS. 

said Evelyn ; and so it was settled. Lord Ed- 
ward would willingly have gone en tiers, but 
Clara did not accede to the proposal. She said 
that she did not like to ride in a cavalcade; 
and the two cousins set out only attended by 
the old groom, who acted chaperon on these 
occasions. 

Sally informed Miss Gascoigne that the 
young ladies, or at least Miss Isabel, were in 
the garden, and springing from her horse, Clara 
led the way there. ' Prepare to be charmed/ 
she said, lightly ; ' Isabel may rival any of 
your Spanish beauties, for she is, in her own 
style, one of the handsomest people I know/ 

As she spoke, the brother and sister unex- 
pectedly emerged from one of the grass alleys, 
and she was so much struck by David's appear- 
ance that she omitted to mark, as she had in- 
tended, the impression made by Isabel on her 
cousin. It was true that David possessed no 
common share of manly beauty, nor was it 
wholly due to his fine expression and perfect 
regularity of feature; he was scarcely above 
the middle height, but slim, graceful, and alert, 
and there was something singularly striking in 
his noble and spirited bearing. Under these 
circumstances it was difficult to escape the 



STILL WATERS. 2Cj 

imputation of coxcombry; and though nothing 
could appear more unstudied than his dark 
shooting suit, just relieved by the loosely- 
knotted blue neckerchief, and a riband of the 
same shade round his straw hat, it was certain 
that no dress became him better; and perhaps 
he knew it. 

2s o one might say the same of Isabel. With 
an air of proud, shrinking bashfulness which 
betrayed how far she was from wishing to court 
observation, she drew closer to her brother's 
side; and when Captain Gascoigne addressed 
her, her cheeks were mantled with a richer 
glow, nor could he win more than a hurried, 
side-long glance of those eyes whose singular 
beauty he had not forgotten. 

Of Captain Gascoigne's appearance no ac- 
count has been given, and he was one of those 
persons most easily described by negatives. 
He was neither dark nor fair, neither tall nor 
short, not well-looking, nor the reverse; his 
features were so little distinctive that no two 
persons who had passed half an hour in his 
company would agree in their account of the 
colour of his eyes or hair, the shape of his nose, 
or the height of his person, though generally 
unanimous in acknowledging his social qualities. 



206 STILL WATERS. 

Isabel did not feel inclined to dissent from 
this opinion; his manners were remarkable for 
ease and self-possession, tempered by the most 
polished courtesy, which only high breeding 
can give, and in which the society of Holmdale 
was necessarily deficient. But she was morti- 
fied that its effect should only be to make her 
manner more constrained ; her answers would 
not flow, and she did not like to be deprived of 
such protection as David's presence afforded. 
He was detached from her side by Clara, 
who inveighed against the Lennox fashion of 
pacing the gravel walks, and incited David to 
flit with her among the flower beds, accepting 
or rejecting his proffered flowers with careless 
coquetry. 

' I hope/ said Captain Gascoigne, as his eyes 
followed the other two, f that you don't think 
we have spoiled Lennox/ 

' Oh no/ said Isabel, with a glow of plea- 
sure, for the tone of the inquiry satisfied her 
that Evelyn did not think so himself. 

1 He seems very glad to be at home/ re- 
sumed Captain Gascoigne ; and this time Isabel 
answered, ' Oh yes/ 

Perhaps Clara discovered that the acquain- 
tance was not advancing at a rapid pace, for she 



STILL WATERS. 207 

good-naturedly came to the rescue with an 
inquiry after Ruth. l It is of no use asking 
where she is — behind that green jalousie, of 
course. Do you think that it would be of any 
use to send up a message that a person wishes 
to speak to her on business V 

I You have cried c wolf 3 too often/ said Isabel; 
1 Ruth never receives such a message now, 
without cautiously inquiring whether it is Miss 
Gascoigne/ 

' But I do really want to see her on busi- 
ness — to sanction my carrying you off, Isabel, 
for a three days' visit next week. Mr. Len- 
nox gives his consent, and engages to watch 
over your principles and manners, which I know 
Ruth expects me to corrupt. Do you think it 
will be permitted V 

e I will ask mamma, and let you know/ said 
Isabel. 

I I shall think Mr. Lennox a most faint- 
hearted brother if he does not carry the point j 
and I warn him that he will be very ill received 
if he comes alone/ 

' I will take care/ said David, not looking 
much alarmed by the threat. 

' I hope that the visit is fixed for the begin- 
ning of the week/ said Evelyn ; ' my family, 



208 STILL WATERS. 

most unreasonably, require me to join them at 
Scarborough without delay/ 

1 Are you going so soon, Gascoigne?' said 
David. ' I understood that you were to pass 
your leave here/ 

'So he will/ rejoined Clara; f the Captain 
likes to magnify his importance by threat- 
ening to withdraw his august presence ; but 
we all know that he is not likely to take his 
departure at the beginning of the shooting 
season, in order to become a marine animal at 
Scarborough/ 

f I confess that it is not an attractive pic- 
ture/ said Evelyn. ' Miss Lennox looks as if 
she thought me wholly destitute of natural 
affection, so I must explain that I passed three 
days with my mother and sisters in town/ 

1 Three nights, rather/ said Clara ; ' for all 
day you were in Belgrave-square, or riding 
with me in Rotten-row/ 

' Because I was only in the way at home. 
The house was bouleverse, in consequence of the 
impending move to Scarborough, and there 
was not a chair to sit down upon, nor a meal 
fit to eat/ 

Isabel would have thought such sentiments 
heartless from the lips of another ; but, per- 



STILL WATERS. 2C0. 

haps, her perceptions were blunted by the easy 
indifference with which they were spoken. It 
was evident that Captain Gascoigne liked to 
make himself out worse than he really was ; 
and besides, his connexion with Dyne Court 
had always appeared more close than that 
with his own family, since he, as heir to the 
baronetcy, was Sir John's especial charge. 

' You will come then/ said Clara, as David 
placed her on her horse ; ' and bring Isabel. 
Tell Ruth there is no very alarming dissipation.' 

' We shall not fail/ replied David ; adding, 
as soon as the cousins had ridden off, ( you 
could not see the world under better auspices, 
Isabel/ 

' I thought you would admire her/ said 
Isabel, ashamed of an indefinite dissatisfaction 
in finding her anticipations fulfilled. 

c Who could not help it ? I never saw 
more perfect grace ; and, without meaning any 
disrespect to you, I have lived too long among 
olive complexions not to appreciate her delicate 

fairness — 

' Quel colore, 
Che non e pallidezza, ma candore.' ' 

1 Oh, David ! do you still keep up your 
Italian V 

vol. 1. p 



210 STILL WATERS. 

' Not I. That quotation is a vestige of our 
old readings of the Gerusalemme. But don't 
go off into a literary discussion, for I have not 
half done with Miss Gascoigne/ There was a 
moment's hesitation in pronouncing her name. 
Formerly he had called her Clara, but now that 
he had seen her, he felt that it was too great a 
liberty. 

' It was only a digression. Go on/ said 
Isabel. 

( You have interrupted the chain of my 
ideas. I don't know that I was going to say 
anything more important than to remark on 
her sunny hair, and on the sunshine there is 
about her. altogether/ 

' So there is/ said Isabel. ' She is one of 
those who { smiling live, and call life pleasure/ ' 

f And what do you call it, may I inquire V 
said David, amused, as well as surprised by her 
thoughtful tone. 

' I don't know ; I have not made up my 
mind. Ruth has found life ' a business, not 
good cheer/ ' 

' Ah, Ruth — but I hope that we need not 
all make such woful discoveries. And that 
reminds me, Isabel, that Ruth positively must 
not spend this fine afternoon in the house. I 



STILL WATERS. 21 1 

shall go and offer to take her place for an 
hour/ 

Isabel shook her head doubtfully ; but she 
was not sorry that another should make the 
attempt in which she had been so often baffled, 
and she only warned David to go up stairs 
quietly, since this was her mother's most 
languid hour of the day. In compliance with 
the hint, he broke off the tune he was whistling 
when he reached the first floor, little dreaming 
that no sound had escaped his mother's ner- 
vously acute hearing from the time he slammed 
the house door, and began to ascend the 
creaking old stair, taking two steps at a time. 
Ruth was reading aloud, in the low, well- 
modulated tone which had soothed many an 
hour of pain and weariness ; and Mrs. Lennox 
looked up, discomposed, though not displeased, 
by the interruption. 

( Well, David, have you come in from your 
walk V 

' No, mother. We have not been farther 
than the garden, but there is time enough 
yet; and while it is so fine, I want to send 
Ruth out for a turn, and sit with you/ 

' Mamma will be more fit for a- talk after 
tea j that is her best time/ said Ruth. 
p 2 



2U STILL WATERS. 

' This is the best time for a walk/ said 
David, mischievously. ( Now ; Ruth, let me 
play nurse for once. You shall see how well 
I can do it/ 

It was injudicious to carry on the discus- 
sion before Mrs. Lennox, who looked nervous 
and uncomfortable ; and David did not mend 
his cause by an unlucky stumble over a stool 
which stood in a dark corner by the fender, 
sending down the fire-irons with an outrageous 
clatter. 

' It is very good of you to think of me/ 
said Mrs. Lennox ; ' and, as you say, Ruth 
ought not to lose the fine afternoon. I do not 
mind being alone/ 

1 But, mamma/ said Ruth, ' I would rather 
finish our reading first/ 

' And you will not let me finish it for you/ 
said David. 

'Not to-day/ replied Mrs. Lennox. 'My 
head is so weak that I could not bear a strange 
voice. You are quite right to think of Ruth, 
who ought to spare herself much more than 
she does ; and it is my own fault, for my 
long illness has made me selfish and inconsi- 
derate/ 

' Oh, mamma V said Ruth, pleadingly, c why 



STILL WATERS. 213 

will you say such things, when you know that 
it is my great happiness to be with you V 

1 So great, that you will allow no one else 
to share it/ said David, provoked with himself 
as soon as the words had passed his lips. He 
felt the injustice of the retort, and he had dis- 
composed both Ruth and his mother with no 
good result. 

Mrs. Lennox repeated that she should not 
at all mind being left alone, adding — 

' If I take a good rest now, I shall be able 
to enjoy David's visit in the evening, and I 
am sure that I can bear no more reading 
now/ 

c Then you will let me sit by you and be 
quiet/ said Ruth. ' I really would rather go 
out later; and David ought to go and call on 
the Doctor, who must be longing to see him, 
and only refrained from calling lest he should 
be in the way/ 

David acquiesced, and he left Mrs. Lennox 
remorseful for her exacting habits, while Ruth 
tormented herself with trying to ascertain the 
truth of his accusation, quite ready to believe 
that her love for her mother was too encroach- 
ing and made her unmindful of others. And 
yet she could not love her less, nor desist from 



214 STILL WATEKS. 

those gentle offices on which Mrs. Lennox was 
so dependent. 

After all, Ruth might have spared herself as 
much of her distress as was due to the con- 
sciousness of having vexed David, for the cloud 
had vanished from his open brow before he 
reached the foot of the stairs. 

1 It will not act/ he said to Isabel ; ' I only- 
make matters worse by meddling. And since 
Ruth will not follow my advice, I must follow 
hers, and go and call on the Doctor/ 

' I will go with you/ said Isabel ; c I would 
not miss the first interview on any account/ 

' I suppose there is no harm/ said David ; 
and Isabel laughed merrily at his scruples. 

' You very absurd person ! As if there 
could be any harm in visiting the Doctor, who 
has been grandfather to the family from the 
time we could run alone/ 

Not unwilling to be convinced, David offered 
his arm, and they walked down the High-street 
together, Isabel's smile of proud affection be- 
traying her conviction that all who saw must 
envy her the possession of such a brother. The 
cricket-ground attached to the school awakened 
some sage reflections on the lapse of time, for 
boys were playing as zealously, and sisters look- 



STILL WATERS. 215 

ing on with as eager an interest, as in the days 
when David and Isabel there bore a part. The 
low irregular building which formed the master's 
house also reminded David of many a scurry 
along the gravel-walk, with the theme or copy 
of verses which ought to have been presented 
in the study ten minutes before. And when 
the old housekeeper opened the door — in the 
identical cap, as David whispered, which she 
had worn in days of yore — her features relaxed 
into a grim smile of recognition, although she 
seemed doubtful whether ' Master Lennox' had 
outgrown the age when he, in common with the 
rest of his species, must be regarded as the 
natural enemy of herself and her master, and 
she was disposed to resist any invasion of the 
study. David, however, knew his way along 
the dark passage too well to wait for an intro- 
duction, and he led the way for Isabel, scarcely 
waiting for an answer to his knock, before he 
opened the door. 

1 Come in/ said Dr. Berkeley, without look- 
ing up from his desk, and expecting some 
application in the approved school-boy for- 
mula, — ' Oh, if you please, sir I 1 — so that 
he was unprepared for Isabel's joyous greet- 
ing. 



2 1 6" STILL WATEKS. 

' Now, Dr. Berkeley, do you see what I have 
brought V 

' Miss Isabel V the Doctor said ; adding, after 
only a moment's perplexity, ' Is it David ? my 
dear boy, how you have grown V 

' Yes ; does he not look w r ell V said Isabel, 
hovering round him, as if beginning her inspec- 
tion for the first time ; c we feel quite hurt that 
you never came to see him/ 

' And Ruth thought you might be modest, 
so she sent us here/ added David. 

f It was very kind of her, and of you. And 
now, Miss Isabel, do take my chair/ for the 
Doctor awoke to the discovery that his accom- 
modation for visitors was limited, and it was 
more easy to relinquish his own seat than to 
disengage any other from the books with which 
they were piled. But Isabel refused the post 
of dignity, and drew out a small stool which 
had been the joint present of Ruth and herself, 
an early essay in tapestry work; David made 
himself quite at home on a corner of the table ; 
and the Doctor resumed his seat, and composed 
himself for a talk. One of his first inquiries 
was whether David found many changes in the 
place. 

e Fewer in this room than elsewhere/ he re- 



STILL WATERS. 21 7 

plied ; c I could almost fancy myself a boy 
again, and that I had come to hear your friendly 
criticisms on some copy for which I gained 
kvSch; in school/ 

c Ah V said the Doctor, reproachfully ; ' I was 
thinking this morning that, if you had gone 
on as you began, you would have got a first- 
class by this time, and been within sight of a 
fellowship/ 

' It is a sad falling off, indeed/ said Isabel ; 
' but his mind has not wholly run to waste. He 
can stand an examination in the Army List, 
calculate his chances of promotion, and explain 
the intricacies of a brevet. He has explained 
them to me twice this morning already, and I 
am sorry to say that I don't understand the 
matter any better than before/ 

' However, Miss Isabel/ said the Doctor, c it 
will not do to set him against his profession, 
for I suppose it is too late to change/ 

' If I wished it/ said David ; c but I assure 
you I don't repent of my choice/ and Dr. 
Berkeley felt that, if he still cherished the un- 
happy delusion, there was no more to be said. 
He reverted to his former remark. 

' From what you said just now, David, I 
conclude that vou do find changes elsewhere?' 



2l8 STILL WATERS. 

'At home, chiefly. You know that, when I 
was here last, my mother ased to like to see 
people in her dressing-room, even when she 
was too unwell to come down stairs : but now 
she is scarcely equal to seeing me. and the 
house seems strange and unhomclike. And 
then there is Ruth.' 

1 Yes. indeed !' said the Doctor, sighing ; 
1 all that is too sad to talk about/ 

'Then there is the break-up of the Bean- 
street manage,' continued David : ' that has 
taken place since I went away, and one mi- 
Jasper : otherwise llolnidale seems to go on 
much as it used to do. We met Miss Perrott 
and her standing complaint of rheumatism, and 
she does not look a day older. And I hear 
that you keep up a succession of Dunns not 
a whit more manageable than their senior.' 

'And without you and Clinton to keep them 
in order.' said the Doctor ; ' but. perhaps, they 
may not turn out so ill after all, for one never 
can tell. You see how I have been disappointed 
in my two most promising pupils/ 

David laughed : but Isabel was more indig- 
nant than amused. 

' Really, Dr. Berkeley, it is hardly fair to 
class David and Jasper together now/ 



STILL WATERS. 210. 

'Your sister would think it fair, Miss 
Isabel/ 

' But / do not/ 

I Then I am sorry that I said anything to 
hurt you/ answered the Doctor; and Isabel 
was mollified, and rather ashamed of her 
petulance. 

I I am not hurt/ observed David ; c for 
Jasper's unhappy story can hardly appear more 
incomprehensible to Ruth than it does to me. 
I should have supposed that I was more likely 
to have run off with my neighbour's money 
myself, remembering his abhorrence of anything 
which bordered on shuffling j so that his code 
of honour was far higher than that of the 
school in general. He must have acted on 
some uncontrollable impulse, and it is enough 
to make one believe that vice is hereditary/ 

' There is no use talking of it/ said the 
Doctor ; and Isabel laughingly declared that, 
if so many subjects were barred, there would 
be nothing left to say. Conversation did not 
flag, however, and the Doctor was at last obliged 
to turn them out without ceremony, as they 
lingered beyond the hour for going into school. 
They set forth on a pleasant, sauntering walk 
along the river, returning rather late for tea, 



220 STILL WATERS. 

at which Ruth was waiting to preside; and 
while Isabel went to lay aside her bonnet, 
there was an opportunity for the desired ex- 
planation with David, of which Ruth availed 
herself. 

'I know, David/ she said, in a quiet, mat- 
ter-of-fact voice, ' that I am very dictatorial 
and disagreeable/ 

I Indeed ! I am exceedingly sorry to hear 
it/ said David, laughing. But Ruth was 
quite in earnest. 

f And yet I hardly see how it is to be 
helped. It is partly because I began to manage 
things when I was too young, and now you 
see mamma has got used to my ways, and one 
does not like to do anything to vex her/ 

' As I did just now/ said David. 

I I did not mean that. I was wondering 
how much was my fault, and if it is possible 
for you to be more with mamma, since you 
wish it/ 

' I do wish it, Ruth ; but chiefly for your 
sake. I cannot wonder that mamma wishes 
to have you with her, but still you ought to 
spare yourself. Every one — even the Doctor, 
whose eyes are not of the brightest — remarks 
how ill and altered vou look/ 



STILL WATERS. 


221 


' Ah, that is nothing. I am 


really quite 


strong/ 





David could only shake his head incredu- 
lously, for Isabel and the urn came in together, 
and there the explanation ended — rather un- 
satisfactorily, as explanations are apt to do. 



223 STILL WATEKS. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

Alas for pleasure on the sea, 

And sorrow on the shore ! 
The smile that blest one lover's heart 

Has broken many more. 

Hood. 

rpHE change which David proposed to make 
-*- in his mother's habits and manner of 
life could not be put in practice at present, 
since his own time was fully occupied in re- 
ceiving the visits of his acquaintance in Holm- 
dale. He bore the infliction more good- 
humouredly than Isabel, who was intolerant of 
the reminiscences of various old ladies who 
had known him when he was no higher than 
the table, and now remarked in an audible 
aside that he was really a handsome youth. 
Captain Gascoigne's entrance drove away Miss 
Perrott, just as she was taking a fresh start on 
the subject of rheumatism, and David greeted 
him with animation, declaring that a cloth 
coat was a pleasant variety on the fifth barege 
shawl which he had had the honour of showing 
out that day. 



STILL WATERS. 223 

'Yes, it is really too dreadful/ ejaculated 
Isabel j ' and I know that the United Service 
will next be upon us. I met him this morning, 
and he said that he should certainly call on 
Mr. David/ 

' However, I presume that the United Ser- 
vice, whoever he may be, does not wear a 
barege shawl/ said Captain Gascoigne. 

' No ; but he is a greater bore than fifty 
old women/ said David. ' I tell you what, 
Gascoigne, I shall go out and smoke, and you 
can make your visit just as well by the river 
side/ 

1 1 was not going to inflict a visit upon you/ 
replied Evelyn ; c my cousin sent me to know 
if we might expect you on Monday/ 

' Oh yes ; I believe Ruth has already writ- 
ten to say so. Now do, Gascoigne, come out 
before we are caught/ 

Captain Gascoigne still demurred, glancing 
at the broad-leafed hat upon the table, while 
Isabel wore her brown-holland jacket and rose- 
coloured neckerchief. ' I must not/ he said, 
' interfere with your sister's walk/ 

1 Isabel may come too/ said David, ' without 
prejudice to the enjoyment of our cigar. She 
is too much of a gitana to mind it/ 



224 STILL WATERS. 

' Then you must wait for Ruth/ said Isabel ; 
1 she promised to walk with us this afternoon/ 

' We can wait for uo one/ replied David, 
starting up at the sound of the door-bell. ' If 
you will follow with Ruth, you will find us by 
the willow/ And he made a hasty exit by the 
window, followed by Captain Gascoigne, while 
Isabel ran out into the passage to instruct 
Sally that Mr. David had just gone out. She 
next went in search of Ruth, and they came 
down the path across the meadow before the 
gentlemen had made much progress in their 
cigars. 

' So that is Captain Gascoigne/ said Ruth, 
when near enough to distinguish his features. 
' I remember at that Christmas party thinking 
him rather well-looking/ 

With an unaccountable inclination to stand 
on the defensive, Isabel answered hurriedly, 
that she did not think him otherwise now. 

' He is not remarkable either way/ said 
Ruth ; f and he certainly looks like a gentle- 
man, which is all that signifies/ 

'Already!' Evelyn said to Isabel, after 
exchanging a more formal greeting with her 
sister. ' What have you done with the United 
Service V 



STILL WATERS. 225 

' Oh/ said Isabel, laughing and colouring, 
' he only asked for Mr. Lennox/ 

( And now/ said David, ' where are we to 
go ? Will it be too far for Ruth if we take 
the footpath to Bruton's mill ? I have a 
great desire to go nutting once more in the 
hazel copse/ 

' It will not be too far, will it, Ruth, if you 
take David's arm? — that is a great help/ said 
Isabel ; and with the proffered aid Ruth 
thought that she could accomplish the walk. 

Isabel led the way with Captain Gascoigne ; 
and Ruth was surprised, and not very well 
pleased to find one of whom they knew so 
little already admitted to habits of intimacy. 
And when, as was soon the case, her languid 
movements were outstripped by Isabel's brisk 
step, she ventured to impart some of her mis- 
givings to David. 

1 1 hope that you will take care of Isabel 
when you get to Dyne Court, David.' 

I Oh yes, of course. I see what you mean ; 
but you need not be afraid of any intentions 
in that quarter. Gascoigue is not at all a 
marrying man.' 

I I should think/ said Ruth, l that would be 
an additional reason for caution.' 

VOL. I. Q 



226 STILL WATERS. 

• ' Not at all/ said David, for the instinct of 
opposition was awakened. ' Surely two people 
may talk and laugh together, and no harm 
follow. Though, after all, if Gascoigne were 
to settle down as Benedict the married man, 
Isabel is just the one to attract him, for she 
has so much freshness and originality, to say 
nothing of her beauty. And she might do 
worse, for Gascoigne is a pleasant fellow, and 
his prospects are good enough, and his luck 
infallible, or he could never have got his com- 
pany at six-and-twenty/ 

' Pleasantness, luck, and prosperity ! so that 
is all you can say for your friend/ said Ruth. 

' My dear Ruth/ answered David, impa- 
tiently, ' when I conceive that there is any 
likelihood of his becoming my brother-in-law, 
it will be time enough to discuss his moral 
character. Considering that you assume to 
be a sensible and practical woman, I wonder 
that you allow your imagination to run away 
with you so far as to compress a three-volume 
novel into a visit of as many days. Isabel is 
thinking as much of love as I am/ 

Could Isabel have guessed the subject of 
discussion between her brother and sister, it 
would have called an indignant colour to the 



STILL WATERS. 227 

cheek which now glowed with a blush of 
simple pleasure. It was difficult to withstand 
the influence of Captain Gascoigne's powers 
of conversation ; and amid downcast looks, and 
shy retiring smiles, she betrayed some of the 
playful daring of her natural manner, ven- 
turing to rally his ignorance, when he con- 
fessed his inability to distinguish between 
Swedes and turnips. 

'It is very disgraceful/ he said, laughing; 
1 and Sir John is mortified by the discovery 
that I have no agricultural tastes. But, per- 
haps, I may do better, if you will undertake 
my instruction/ 

' I know nothing of farming/ said Isabel • 
{ but one cannot walk through the fields with- 
out seeing things/ 

' I don't care about things. Human nature 
is a more amusing study/ 

' Oh, do you think so V 

( That question implies dissent, Miss Lennox/ 

1 Certainly ; I don't agree with you at all. 
In history and books people are all very well, 
but they are apt to be a disappointment in real 
life — tiresome and commonplace/ 

1 Which turnips are not/ said Evelyn ; and 
Isabel was amused by the retort. 
Q % 



228 STILL WATERS. 

c I suppose that I am unlucky, and only fall 
in -with the human turnips, — people who are 
more useful than ornamental/ 

1 You must have been unlucky indeed/ said 
Captain Gascoigne. ' In my limited acquain- 
tance with the society of Holmdale, I do not 
miss the element of beauty/ 

Isabel understood his meaning without tak- 
ing offence, as for consistency's sake she ought 
to have done, since she had been wont to resent 
a compliment as a studied insult. But then 
she had never before been addressed with such 
graceful ease and readiness. 

c Clara says, as you do, that there is more 
to admire and enjoy in a room full of people 
than in the most beautiful view/ 

' I do not say so, Miss Lennox. I prefer 
the view when I am allowed a companion to 
admire and enjoy it with me. Indeed, I can 
desire nothing pleasanter than the quiet, home- 
like beauty of such a walk as this/ 

' I am so glad you are worthy of it. Some 
people are quite ill-natured to our country; 
call it tame and uninteresting, and never learn 
to love it as I do. Now, can anything be 
prettier than that reach of the river shut in 
by the clump of trees V In turning to point 



STILL WATERS. 229 

out the reach in question, Isabel first discovered 
how far they had outstripped their companions ; 
and she said, with a heightened colour, and an 
accession of embarrassment — 

e We have walked too fast for Ruth/ 

c We can wait till they come up ; there is a 
good seat on the stile/ said Captain Gascoigne ; 
but Isabel preferred walking back to meet 
them j an elaborate piece of discretion for 
which David rewarded her by rallying such 
superfluous activity. 

' But, as you have come back/ he said, ' Gas- 
coigne may tell us who we are to meet at 
Dyne Court, and if there is any one we know/ 

c There is Raeburn — I remember he was at 
the famous Christmas party at which we first 
met ; but you will not know him again, for he 
is transformed from a cub into a dashing young 
Guardsman, though I think I can detect the 
element of cubbism still. There are the two 
Courtowns, — the eldest is at Cambridge, a 
mathematical genius and rather a prig, but 
Gerry is as great a schoolboy as ever, though 
old euough to know better. And Lord Edward 
Lynmere, — I suppose you know him/ 

1 Only by reputation. My sisters have met 
him/ 



2JO STILL WATERS. 

' He is a good deal at Dyne Court, I 
fancy/ 

' Yes/ Ruth answered ; c he has paid a long 
visit every autumn for the last four years/ 

'Poor Lyntnere/ said Captain Gascoigne ; 
1 he does not consort much with the young set, 
but goes farming with Sir John, and looks 
mightily bored by such agricultural proceedings. 
These are the present inmates ; but there is a 
fresh arrival to-morrow, — Mr. and Lady Maria 
AYentworth, and a mother and daughter whose 
names I have forgotten/ 

' You had better stop there/ said David, 
laughing ; l Isabel looks as if her heart failed 
her at the prospect of encountering such a 
multitude/ 

e It is alarming/ said Isabel. ' Clara said 
that there would be hardly any one/ 

' At all events/ said Evelyn, lightly, ' the 
party will not consist entirely of strangers. 
My cousin/ he added, turning to Ruth, ' wished 
me to ask if it is quite impossible for you to 
be of the number V 

( Quite impossible, thank you/ said Ruth, 
briefly, for she felt that Clara was too well 
acquainted with the nature of her home ties 
to render any explanation necessary. 



STILL WATERS. 23 1 

For the rest of the walk the party kept 
together, and the talk lay chiefly between the 
two gentlemen. Isabel was happy and amused, 
and only disturbed by a misgiving that her 
satisfaction was not shared by Ruth. Even 
her smiles did not chase the expression of 
languid weariness from her face; and when, 
they parted from Captain Gascoigne at the 
door of the Red House, and David asked if 
he was not a pleasant fellow, Ruth only said 
' Yes, very/ and ran up stairs to see how her 
mother had fared during her unusually long 
absence. 

It was a good clay with Mrs. Lennox, and 
Dr. Berkeley had been admitted to the dress- 
ing-room, awaiting the return of the young 
people, since he had consented to stay to tea, 
in order to have a good talk with David. So 
Mrs. Lennox had not wanted society, and as 
soon as Ruth had told her news she sent her 
down stairs to entertain the Doctor. 

Ruth instantly set to work to sew a trim- 
ming on a muslin skirt of Isabel's, with an 
apology for its dimensions, as not exactly 
suited to the drawing-room. c But if I don't 
work at it here/ she said, c I shall never get 
it done, for the muslin makes such a crack- 



232 STILL WATERS. 

ling and rustling that I cannot take it into 
mamma's room/ 

( Ruth hears with mamma's ears/ remarked 
David ; ' I don't hear a sound.' 

' Because you are a giant of strength, and 
your nerves are made of whipcord/ said Isabel. 
* Next time I see Mr. Ball, I mean to remind 
him of his sinister predictions, founded on the 
fact of your having no stamina. I remember 
how the hard word puzzled me, and I went 
surreptitiously to look for it in Johnson, and 
was not much enlightened by finding that it 
was a botanical term.' 

'It is a very pretty trimming/ said the 
Doctor, who had taken a seat near Ruth, and 
was watching her proceedings. l You will make 
quite a sensation, Miss Isabel.' 

' Entirely owing to Ruth's trimming/ added 
David. c Observe how careful the Doctor is not 
to minister to your vanity.' 

1 Isabel is more likely to make a sensation if 
she is not well dressed/ said Ruth; ' there are 
to be all sorts of fine people there.' 

' Now, Ruth/ said Isabel, imploringly; ' don't 
talk as if you wished to withdraw your sanction 
from such dangerous dissipation. I do really 
mean to be discreet.' 



STILL WATERS. 233 

' I know you do/ said Ruth, smiling ; ' and 
I am very glad there is to be a party, because 
you have always longed to see something of the 
great world/ 

1 A curiosity which you don't share V said 
the Doctor. 

And Ruth answered briefly, ' Not at all/ 

Isabel was never satisfied until she had dived 
into the meaning of her sister's half-sentences, 
although the process was often sufficiently labo- 
rious. 'Do you mean, Ruth, that you don't 
care, or you don't think it right ?' 

1 If I thought it wrong, Isabel, I should not 
be glad that you are going.' 

f But do you think it wrong for yourself?' 

1 I don't wish to go, that is all/ said Ruth. 

f A settler for you, Isabel/ remarked her 
brother ; and because Isabel looked vexed, Ruth 
attempted to explain her meaning. 

' I mean that, from the little I have seen of 
fine people, I doubt if I should ever feel at 
home with them. I don't find that I have 
much in common even with Clara, though we 
have known her so long, and I do really like 
her very much.' 

' For my part/ said David, ( I shall not 
complain if Miss Gascoigne's manners are a 



234 STILL WATERS. 

sample of what we are to find at Dyne 
Court/ 

' I was not thinking altogether of manner/ 
said Ruth • ' for in manner one hardly sees two 
people in the same set alike. But they don't 
see things from the same point of view as we 
do/ 

1 Ruth is as bad as Uriah Heep/ said Isabel, 
' always crackling her knuckles, and saying 
' how 'umble we are/ Now I believe that the 
Lennoxes are as good as the Gascoignes or 
the TVentworths, or any one you choose to 
name/ 

' Very possibly; but perhaps the Went worths 
don't think so/ 

1 Then we must enlighten them/ said David. 

'And, besides/ said Isabel, f it seems to me 
that it is only another form of pride to avoid 
consorting with people lest they should look 
down upon you; don't you think so, Dr. 
Berkeley V 

' It depends/ he replied ; and David laughed 
at the Doctor's diplomatic answer. 

'Very likely it may be pride/ said Ruth; 
e I told you that I did not know whether it 
was right or wrong. But I do know that I 
feel like a foreigner in an exclusive set, which 



STILL WATERS. 235 



has its own interests, and even its own expres- 
sions/ 

' The truth is/ said the Doctor, speaking as 
he was apt to do of Ruth rather than to her; 
' the truth is, that Miss Lennox has always 
sought her happiness where her dnties lie.' 

' That remark is aimed at me/ remarked 
Isabel, c because you suspect me of disloyalty 
to Holmdale/ 

c It is not a suspicion, Miss Isabel, but a 
certainty." 

' Though, after all/ said Isabel, c you do not 
greatly affect the Holmdale tea-parties/ 

' I am too old for such frivolities/ 

1 And 1/ retorted Isabel, c am too young for 
such solemnities. When I attain to middle 
age, and to mediocrity in general, I may find 
them as charming as Ruth does — in theory/ 

' I never said that they were charming/ said 
Ruth ; ' only that it was not worth while to 
make a grievance of what was, after all, but a 
two hours' penance/ 

' Such an attractive picture of society / said 
David. f TThen Isabel and I accepted the invita- 
tion to Dyne Court, it was in hopes of finding 
it a pleasure, not a penance/ 

c Lord Edward Lynmere is there/ remarked 



2$6 STILL WATERS. 

the Doctor; Mie called on me the other day, 
and he is very sensible and agreeable, although 
his infatuation for the little heiress is no great 
proof of his wisdom. And what do you think 
of this Captain Gascoigne ? Mrs. Lennox said 
that he was walking with you to-day/ 

1 Oh, he is a very good fellow/ said David ; 
'but not at all in Lord Edward's way, from 
what I have heard of that worthy/ 

Ruth and Isabel forbore to express an 
opinion. 



STILL WATERS. 2^ J 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

Wie hiess die Fee ? Lili. Fragt nicht nach ihr ! 
Kennt Ihr sie nicht, so danket Gott dafiir. 

Welch ein Geraiisch, welch ein Gegacker, 

Wenn sie sich in die Thiire stellt, 

Und in der Hand das Futter-korbchen halt, 

Welch ein Gequick, welch ein Gequacker, 

So stiirzen sich ganze Heerden zu ihren Fiissen. 

Goethe. 

ll/TONDAY was rainy, and the sound of 
■*** carriage-wheels grinding the wet gravel 
was hailed as a welcome diversion by the party 
gathered in the drawing-room at Dyne Court, 
rather tired of each other's society, and begin- 
ning to wonder how soon it would be lawful to 
retire to their respective rooms, to enjoy a cup 
of servants' tea, and skim through a three- 
volume novel, until dressing-time. Captain 
Gascoigne did not wait for his cousin's bidding 
to go out into the hall to welcome the Len- 
noxes ; and his presence made the introduction 
to so many strangers appear less formidable to 
Isabel. 

David had not danced at all the garrison 



238 STILL WATERS. 

balls, and paid morning visits to the officers' 
-wives, without acquiring the easy fluency 
which was, not long since, considered the 
distinguishing characteristic of his profession ; 
and before Isabel was sufficiently reassured to 
raise her eyes, he had entered into conver- 
sation with Lady Maria Wentworth, and had 
made the interesting discovery of her near re- 
lationship to his best friend, Harry Newry. 
Lady Maria, as Isabel determined, after one or 
two fleeting glances, ' must be easy to get on 
with/ Though no longer young, she had some 
remains of beauty ; she was fair and stately, 
and her manner was open and pleasant. The 
tall, middle-aged gentleman, with a bald head 
and a benevolent aspect, who leaned against 
the mantelpiece and listened to all she said 
with such devoted attention, must be her 
husband, Mr. TTentworth. And further, Isabel 
could not pursue her researches at present, 
since her attention was claimed by Sir John. 

' A sad rainy day, is it not, Miss Lennox ? 
only fit for the ducks, and particularly annoying 
with a houseful of company. And if the fine 
weather had lasted for two days more, all my 
fields would have been cleared/ 

' You are more forward than vour neigh- 



STILL WATERS. 239 

hours/ said Isabel ; c it was quite distressing to 
see so much standing corn as we came along/ 

In return for her sympathy, Isabel was 
favoured with a calculation of the probable 
amount of damage which must ensue from this 
change of weather. She did not find the sub- 
ject much more entertaining than those current 
at the Holm dale tea-parties, and she was grate- 
ful to Captain Gascoigne for effecting a diver- 
sion. 

( You can tell us, Sir John/ he said, ' how 
low the glass fell last night. Lynmere was 
asking just now/ 

Sir John turned to satisfy Lord Edward's 
curiosity, and his place was promptly supplied 
by his nephew. 

' I hope, Miss Lennox, that our long walk 
on Saturday was not too much for you/ 

' Oh, no, thank you. I did not find it 
long, and I should have liked to go round by 
the Ashes, only that would have been too far 
for Ruth/ 

' I saw by your face just now/ said Captain 
Gascoigne, ' that you are rather intolerant of 
weather topics, or I should hope that the rain 
may not continue, to interfere with an exploring 
walk to-morrow. You need not be alarmed/ 



240 STILL WATERS. 

he added, observing with a smile that Isabel 
coloured at this instance of his penetration; 
' you did not betray yourself to Sir John, and 
I certainly shall not betray you. Now, do 
tell me what we shall do with another rainy 
day/ 

c I shall not much mind/ said Isabel ; ( for I 
know all the walks round here, and they are 
not half so pretty as our own. I shall go and 
dig in the library, and make a list of the books 
I want to read, and dip into those which are 
too heavy to carry away. There is a Hol- 
linshed ' 

Captain Gascoigne had acquired abroad the 
habit of shrugging his shoulders with true 
foreign action, and the gesture was accompa- 
nied by a comic look of horror, at which Isabel 
could not forbear to laugh. 

' A Hollinshed ! Do you really propose to 
study a black letter chronicle by way of a 
pleasant recreation V 

' It is not black letter/ replied Isabel ; ' but 
a folio edition of 1635, beautifully printed, as 
most books of that date are/ 

1 Then you are a connoisseur in type, Miss 
Lennox V 

' It is a hobby of the Doctor's/ said Isabel, 



STILL WATERS. 241 

colouring ; ' and I have acquired a little of the 
taste from him/ 

' I hope that Dr. Berkeley is well/ said 
Lord Edward Lynmere, turning round at the 
sound of his name. An acquaintance begun 
by a casual meeting at the Red House was 
now ripening into friendship, in spite of the 
contrast between what Isabel called Lord 
Edward's grand courteous manner, and the 
Doctor's rather quaint simplicity. 

' The Doctor ! J said Clara, also catching at the 
name. ' I have not told you, Isabel, how, on 
your account and that of Lord Edward, I have 
despatched an invitation to him for to-morrow 
night. But do you think that you could, in 
compassion to my ignorance, give him a 
friendly hint not to talk either Hebrew or 
Sanscrit V 

' The Doctor/ said Isabel, ' like all really 
learned men, makes no parade of his knowledge/ 

'You alarm me more and more/ said Cap- 
tain Gascoigne. ' With how many learned 
men do you claim acquaintance V 

1 Only with the Doctor/ said Isabel, again 
laughing and blushing ; ' but he is a host in 
himself/ 

' Do you think that he will come, Miss Len- 

VOL. I. R 



242 STILL WATERS. 

nox? J saidLordEdward, who had looked eager and 
interested from the moment that Clara professed 
to have made the imitation partly on his account. 

1 1 hope he will/ said Evelyn, before she 
could reply ; l for he has a prior claim to Hol- 
linshed, and so I may escape/ 

'Even if the Doctor does not come/ said 
Clara, ' Isabel may find some one to share 
her literary tastes. Shall I introduce you to 
Mr. James Courtown, that studious youth in 
spectacles, who has been reading ever since 
breakfast/ 

' Nothing very deep, however/ said Isabel, 
glancing across the room ; ' it is Nicholas 
Nickleby, by the cover/ 

' No, is it, really V said Clara, much amused. 
1 You know our books, outside and in, so much 
better than I do. I thought it was something 
dreadfully learned/ 

1 1 had an indistinct idea that the young 
man was an imposition/ observed Captain 
Gascoigne, ' and yet I was almost taken in by 
the air of dignified decision with which he 
waived off his brother, when he proposed a 
walk. Did you see the scene, Clara V 

' Between Gerry and Jem ?' said Clara. 
' Yes, I was much edified. But Jem was so 



STILL WATERS. 243 

far justified in standing on his dignity, that 
Gerry was only reduced to his brother when 
he failed in getting any other companion. He 
applied to me among the rest ; but I hinted 
that I was not amphibious, and instanced you, 
Isabel, as the only young lady of my acquain- 
tance who was gifted with that convenient 
property, and went out in all weathers in 
boots of fabulous thickness. Thereupon he 
brightened up, and said he was glad you were 
coming, for he remembered dancing with you 
at a Christmas party, and thinking you rather 
jolly. I hope you appreciate the compliment/ 

' Yes/ said Isabel ; ( I have seen enough of 
schoolboys to understand the force of the 
epithet/ 

' I remember/ said Evelyn, e that Gerry 
and his companions became rather jolly at 
supper that night, so that you were glad to 
escape from their attentions/ 

' They were rather rough/ said Isabel, re- 
calling the scene and the favourable contrast 
presented by Evelyn's more polished manners ; 
' but he was very merry and good-humoured/ 

In such general talk she was happy and 
at ease, and the interruption was unwelcome 
when David crossed the room to say that Lady 

R 2 



244 STILL WATERS. 

Maria Wentwortli wished to be introduced to 
her. She complied with an accession of shy- 
ness, yet Lady Maria contrived to be as much 
charmed with her glowing beauty as she had 
already been with her brother's powers of 
conversation ; and disregarding a piteous glance 
from Isabel's speaking eyes, David conceived 
that they might prosecute the acquaintance 
without him, and that politeness, as well as 
inclination, required him to address himself to 
Miss Gascoigne. 

Perhaps the same thought had occurred to 
Clara some time before, and she chose to show 
her sense of his neglect, for her manner was 
much less encouraging than it had been on a 
former occasion; she turned from him with 
careless inattention to continue her discussion 
with Lord Edward and her cousin. With an 
air of pique, which an older man would have 
been at greater pains to conceal, David stood 
aloof in moody silence, provoked, and yet irre- 
sistibly attracted by the arch, sidelong glances 
which Clara occasionally directed towards him. 

Young Courtown's entrance caused the next 
diversion, in such muddy guise as only he could 
have thought admissible into a drawing-room. 
His abstracted brother was roused to admo- 



STILL WATERS. 245 

nish liim in an undertone. ' Oh, Gerry, your 
boots V while the rest of the party regarded 
him with something between amusement and 
dismay. 

' My boots are well enough ; I have scraped 
them/ replied Gerald, with a defensive air; and 
after waiting in vain for some one to confirm 
the assertion, he added, ' of course you don't 
expect them to be as well polished as your own, 
after walking over the fields/ 

The elder brother had satisfied his conscience 
with the protest, and subsided once more into 
Nicholas Xickltby, while Gerald glanced doubt- 
fully at Isabel, and applied to Clara before he 
ventured to address her. ' Is that herself or 
her sister V 

' Herself, if you mean Miss Isabel Lennox/ 
Clara answered, with laudable gravity. ' Shall 
I tell her that you wish to renew acquain- 
tance V 

c Xo, thank you/ said Gerald, after a second 
inspection. It was evident that Isabel, whom 
he had last seen as a laughing girl, with a 
manner almost as untutored as his own, was 
transformed into a young lady with whom he 
had nothing in common, though she was, as he 
informed his brother, worth looking at. So, 



246 STILL WATERS. 

after answering Sir John's inquiries respecting 
his walk, he discovered that it was time to 
dress, and he sauntered out of the room again. 

It was the signal for a general move, and 
Clara took Isabel up to her room — just such a 
room as she delighted in, with mullioned win- 
dows, deep embrasures, and irregular angles. 
And it was possible that her satisfaction was 
heightened by Clara's remark that she had been 
guided in her choice by Evelyn Gascoigne, 
{ who declared that you, of all the guests, 
were most likely to appreciate the wainscoted 
chamber/ 

' I could guess/ said Isabel, e that Lady 
Maria is modern in her tastes, and in favour 
of a high, square room, with a flowery paper/ 

' Lady Maria/ replied Clara, ' is sufficiently 
complaisant to rave about old oak and the 
dark ages, when she finds that you have a turn 
that way. But, if you think her too modern, 
what will you say to the Thomasons ?' 

' Are there more people in the house ?' 
Isabel asked, in dismay. ' I thought we had 
seen them all/ 

1 There are these Thomasons still in reserve, 
besides Lord Raeburn, who was, I imagine, in 
the smoking-room with Thomason fils. The 



STILL WATERS. 247 

ladies had retired to write letters before your 
arrival. They are regular London people, 
whom it was necessary to ask in return for 
all the balls at which I have danced at their 
house, but they are rather a gene, as lady 
guests are apt to be — the present company 
always excepted. jSTot that Laura gives me 
much trouble, as long as she can get the Cap- 
tain to flirt with/ 

The shade of bitterness in Clara's tone sur- 
prised Isabel, and she observed a harassed ex- 
pression in the lines of her small and pretty 
mouth. But it vanished before her scrutiny, 
and Clara said lightly — 

' The services of the subaltern will be nearly 
as invaluable as those of the captain. How 
well he did his manners to Lady Maria V 

' I don't know what you mean by doing 
his manners/ said Isabel, displeased by the 
expression. ' David is the same to every 
one/ 

' I meant nothing disrespectful of your 
paragon/ said Clara, laughing. ' Indeed, you 
might be affronted to hear how immensely I 
admire him. Now I must run away, or I shall 
be late for dinner. I will send Annette to you 
as soon as I have done with her ; and vou 



248 STILL WATERS. 

must not thwart her genius, but let her make 
you as fine as she pleases/ 

Instead of attending to this advice, Isabel 
hastened to complete her toilette before the 
foreign maid knocked at the door, to ask what 
she could do for mademoiselle, and Isabel wished 
that her assistance had not been required to 
fasten the muslin dress, which those quick 
black eyes could not fail to discover had been 
washed more than once. She detected a latent 
sarcasm in the words ' Voila tout?' with which 
Annette handed to her her only ornament, 
a spray of pink coral which David had brought 
with him from the Mediterranean ; and, at 
once mortified and ashamed of her mortifica- 
tion, she almost wished herself at home. 

David was lodged in the opposite wing of 
the house. Clara had already gone down, and 
Isabel prepared with some trepidation to make 
her entrance alone into the drawing-room. 
But she escaped the dreaded ordeal ; for Evelyn 
Gascoigne came out of his room at the end of 
the corridor at the same moment, and he 
waited for her at the foot of the stair, that 
they might go in together. With still greater 
consideration, he found a vacant chair at the 
end of the room, into which she might slide 



STILL WATERS. 249 

almost unperceived, and he remained beside 
her talking. He pointed out to her those of 
the party whom she had not before seen; 
Lord Raeburn, whom Isabel failed to reco- 
gnise in the moustached and elaborately dressed 
young man who was making himself agreeable 
to Clara, and the family of the Thomason s, — 
the mother, who was only remarkable for the 
brilliancy of her diamonds, her tall light-haired 
son, and her daughter, Laura, handsome, dash- 
ing, and over-dressed. When dinner was an- 
nounced it appeared that Clara had destined 
her cousin to Miss Thomason ; but he had 
already given his arm to Isabel, and they went 
in together. 

It was the first time that Isabel had seen 
Clara in general society, and she was amused 
to watch her powers of fascination, although 
she would have been better pleased not to see 
them exercised on her brother. David came 
in with Miss Thomason; but he secured a place 
beside Clara, and neglected his own lady most 
unwarrantably, in order to make his peace with 
her. In this he perfectly succeeded. Lord 
Raeburn looked sullen and displeased, Lord 
Edward abstracted and unhappy, while Clara 
lavished all her smiles on David, and suffered 



250 STILL WATERS. 

her duties as hostess to devolve on him, after 
repeatedly declining Lord Raeburn's offered 
help. 

If all the party had shared the same delu- 
sion, there would have been little general con- 
versation. But, happily, Mr. Wentworth was 
too much in love with his own wife to see any- 
thing to admire in a little pink and white thing 
with no intellect in her face ; so he atoned for 
David's neglect by devoting himself to Miss 
Thorn ason, while at the same time he ate his 
dinner very composedly, and pleased Sir John by 
his approbation of its materiel. Lady Maria's 
talk was fluent as ever, and adapted to the 
tastes of her hearers ; even Mr. James Cour- 
town was roused to animation by her intelli- 
gent questions about Cambridge, while Sir 
John was equally interested in the discussion 
of some measure affecting the agricultural 
interest. And Mr. Thorn ason talked merci- 
lessly across his mother of horses and dogs. 

Captain Gascoigne also, as Isabel perceived 
with a thrill of pleasure of which she would 
have been ashamed, had she been conscious of 
it, was wholly uninfluenced by his cousin's 
variable humour. His cool, penetrating glance 
betrayed no deeper interest than curiosity to 



STILL WATERS. 25 1 

discover to what lengths the spirit of coquetry 
might cany her, and his tone in speaking of 
her scarcely expressed the degree of cousinly 
regard which he might be supposed to feel. 
Clara, on her side, did not attempt to exact the 
homage which was withheld, and her manner 
in addressing him was only distinguished by an 
additional shade of flightiness. 

Isabel had not yet forgotten the depreciating 
remark, almost approaching to a warning, with 
which David had first mentioned Evelyn Gas- 
coigne, hinting that he did not wish her to like 
him. But the words were only recalled with 
an indignant sense of their injustice, for the 
more she saw of Evelyn the more unfounded 
the mistrust appeared. His manner was open, 
pleasant, and unreserved, and did not, like that 
of his cousin, vary with the caprice of the 
moment ; so that she was inclined to retort the 
caution which seemed so unnecessary for her- 
self, when she saw how absolutely David had 
yielded to the fascination of Clara's charms. 
The compassion with which Isabel regarded 
the hopes which Clara had in several instances 
inspired, was not unmixed with contempt, and 
it was mortifying to be obliged to count David 
in the train of her admirers. So it was, how- 



252 STILL WATERS. 

ever; the passing fancy was already deepening 
into the passion of a first love, and Clara's 
smile of conscious power betrayed her determi- 
nation to rivet his chains. 

But Isabel had only leisure to bestow a 
momentary feeling of vexation on the matter, 
for Captain Gascoigne claimed the attention 
which she was not unwilling to bestow, and 
the time passed quickly in lively colloquy. 
Constraint and shyness were so far forgotten 
that she was able to reply to his raillery with 
something of the saucy readiness which had 
hitherto been reserved for her arguments with 
the Doctor. Captain Gascoigne, however, was 
an opponent less easily discomfited, defending 
his opinions, and impugning hers with equal 
facility and better logic than her own, as she 
laughingly admitted, when he undertook to 
refute a somewhat extravagant expression of 
admiration for the days of chivalry. 

When the ladies adjourned to the drawing- 
room, Clara's animation subsided. As soon as 
she had had coffee, she coiled herself into a 
deep arm-chair, observing that a rainy day 
always made her sleepy, and she closed her 
eyes without farther apology, although Isabel 
doubted whether her slumbers were very pro- 



STILL WATERS. 253 

found. Miss Thomason also became quiescent 
over a novel, but Lady Maria talked as assi- 
duously as ever; and since her remarks received 
little encouragement from the others, she de- 
voted herself to Isabel, and good-naturedly- 
taught her a new stitch for the purse which 
was to replace the tattered and discoloured 
remains of her original gift to David. And 
this naturally led to some talk of David him- 
self, a subject of which the sister was not soon 
weary. 

On the whole, the evening passed pleasantly 
enough, except that Isabel was annoyed by 
Lord Raeburn's evident inclination to transfer 
to her the attentions of which Clara was so 
little worthy. He sat down beside her, twirl- 
ing his moustache ; but his vapid observations 
received tardy answers, and his advances were 
repelled by a certain quiet dignity rather than 
by shyness, since Isabel did not care enough 
about him to feel embarrassed. Another cir- 
cumstance marred her pleasure, namely, Clara's 
behaviour to Lord Edward. After some dis- 
cussion of a quotation from Pope, which she 
wished to verify, Clara appealed to Isabel to 
know in what part of the library his works 
were to be found. 



254 STILL WATERS. 

' I am not certain of the shelf/ answered 
Isabel; 'but all the poets live behind the door 
into Sir John's study. I could easily find it 
by daylight/ 

c Lord Edward can find it now/ said Clara, 
as he instantly rose and fetched a candle. 

' Let me go/ Isabel said, in a low voice to 
Clara ; ' he is so near-sighted, and I don't be- 
lieve that he knows his way about the library 
much better than you do/ 

' Then it is time that he should learn/ said 
Clara, lightly ; ' there is no need for you to go 
and dig in those dusty shelves in the dark/ 

Isabel was obliged to acquiesce, but her coun- 
tenance expressed dissatisfaction, which Clara 
did not forbear to ridicule. f You scrupulous 
child ! You see that he is delighted to be my 
errand-monger/ 

i Yes/ rejoined Isabel ; ' and for that Yery 
reason I would not send him/ 

Clara laughed and went on talking to David; 
and when, after twenty minutes' search, Lord 
Edward returned with the book open at the 
passage in question, her interest in the matter 
seemed to have subsided, and she carelessly 
signed to him to put it down. Lord Edward 
turned away, after waiting in vain for a word or 



STILL WATEES. 2^5 

look of acknowledgment, and Isabel's brow red- 
dened with indignation at this studied slight. 

Captain Gascoigne saw and remarked on her 
sense of his wrongs. ' You look/ he said, ' as 
if you were responsible for Clara's caprice.' 

' So I am, in a sense/ said Isabel, colouring 
still more deeply; c I am a woman.' 

Evelyn laughed, as he replied, ' At that rate, 
i" ought to be humiliated by the folly and weak- 
ness displayed by those who submit to the dic- 
tates of her humour.' 

' Are you aware/ said Clara, turning quickly 
round, ' that it is very bad manners to talk too 
low to be heard by the rest of the company ?' 

( Do you wish to hear what we were saying ?' 
said Evelyn, fixing his eyes on his cousin ; and 
Clara seemed to quail before the cool and 
steady gaze, though she answered promptly, 
1 Unquestionably I do/ 

1 Than I will tell you/ said Evelyn ; and his 
report abated nothing of the severity of the 
censure. ' I wish to reassure Miss Lennox, 
whose too sensitive conscience is burdened by 
the thraldom you impose on your admirers. 
Now I maintain that it would be equally rea- 
sonable to assume that I share the responsi- 
bility of their infatuated submission.' 



256 STILL WATERS. 

Isabel wondered, not that Clara's laugh was 
forced, but at the levity which permitted her to 
laugh at all in reply to such a reproof. Nor 
did she show any signs of compunction, for she 
continued to treat Lord Edward with the same 
careless disdain throughout the evening. 



STILL WATERS. 257 



CHAPTER XIX. 

This weak impress of love is as a figure 
Trenched in ice ; which with an hour's heat 
Dissolves to water, and doth lose his form. 

Two Gentlemen of Verona. 

T) REAKFAST in a country house is apt to 
■*-' be a silent meal, especially when, as was 
the case on the following morning, the unset- 
tled state of the weather interfered with any 
arrangement of the plans for the day. The 
post came in; and since neither letters nor paper 
fell to Isabel's share, she subsided into a dream, 
from which she was roused by a demand from 
Clara to know her thoughts. 

' I believe I was thinking of mamma and 
Ruth/ she answered ; f it is tantalizing to be 
so near, and yet not to know how they are/ 

f If you like/ said Evelyn, ' I will go over to 
Holmdale to inquire/ 

Isabel thanked him, without supposing him 
to be in earnest, and Clara was still less pre- 
pared for his reply, when the two cousins were 
left together in the breakfast-room, and she 

vol. 1. s 



258 STILL WATEES. 

proposed that Evelyn should look over some 
plans for a new garden below the terrace. 

' Not this morning, Clara ; I must execute 
Miss Lennox's behests/ 

' Do you really mean to walk to Holmdale ?' 
said Clara, incredulously. 

1 No, I shall ride/ 

' But, Evelyn, I wish that you would look at 
the plans first, for I want to set the work on 
foot while you are here/ 

' Surely/ said Evelyn, f you have squires 
enough at command without pressing me into 
the service. Lennox's taste is excellent/ 

' And then/ said Clara, hastily, ' you accuse 
me of flirting/ 

' I accuse you of nothing, Cousin Clare. I 
recognise the fact, without feeling either the 
right or the inclination to interfere with such 
a harmless pursuit/ He left the room, whist- 
ling as he went, and the plans for the new gar- 
den were thrust back into the drawer from 
which Clara had taken them. 

Isabel wondered what had become of Captain 
Gascoigne, when the other gentlemen came in 
at intervals to report upon the weather, for he 
only returned towards the end of luncheon; 
and if the ride had been taken to give her 



STILL WATERS. 259 

pleasure, he must have been fully rewarded by 
the bright face she turned towards him. c Have 
you really been to Holrndale?' 

( Yes, really; but I am afraid that your sister 
did not thank me. She caught sight of me 
riding up the street, aud came down to the 
door with a very white face, expecting, I be- 
lieve, to hear that some casualty had befallen 
you or Lennox/ 

1 Ruth is so quick to take alarm/ said Isabel, 
gravely. 

1 And no wonder,' added David, ( when she 
sits all day in that half light, letting her mind 
dwell on all possible and impossible evils/ 

1 How can you tell, David ? I believe that 
she is only working out lessons of patience/ 

' Go on/ said Clara, hearing as usual all that 
passed while apparently intent on something 
altogether different ; f Ruth's character is a 
problem which I shall be glad to solve/ 

' You never will, Clara, for you have not the 
key/ 

( And what is that, Isabel ? I know that 
something severe is implied, but I don't under- 
stand/ 

Isabel was embarrassed by the consciousness 
that Captain Gascoigne, as well as her brother, 
s 2 



2<5o STILL WATERS. 

■waited for her reply, and she lowered her voice 
and answered briefly, ' Ruth is always in 
earnest/ 

'Your sisters think me frivolous and shal- 
low/ said Clara, turning to David; and the 
playful appeal roused him in her defence. 

'Never mind Isabel's high-flown theories. 
It is my private opinion that Isabel has as 
good a capacity for enjoying life as any of us/ 

' Very likely/ said Isabel, laughing. ' I 
know that I mean to do what I can in that 
way this afternoon. Do you know, Captain 
Gascoigne, that I really did find Hollinshed 
rather dry, and I must have a walk to chase 
away the cobwebs/ 

1 Are you going out ?' said Gerald Courtown, 
catching at the words ; ' some people seemed to 
think it too wet/ 

( Some people, meaning myself, prefer dri- 
ving/ said Clara. ' I am to drive Lady Maria 
and Mrs. Thomason in the pony carriage, and 
there is room for you, Isabel, if you like to 
come/ 

' I would rather walk with David/ said 
Isabel; but David had another suggestion to 
make. He declared that the wind and driving 
showers would make it disagreeable for Miss 



STILL WATERS. 261 

Gascoigne to drive herself, and she accepted 
his proffered sendees. This left no place for 
Isabel, but she repeated, with perfect sincerity, 
that she would rather walk, and she was only 
doubtful whether it would be correct as well as 
pleasant to consent to Captain Gascoigne's pro- 
posal, that she should go with him and Gerry 
to Leonard's Oak. Her scruples were set at 
rest, however, when Miss Thomason resolved 
to join the party; and in the end they mustered 
strong, for Lord Raeburn emerged from the 
stables, and Lord Edward joined them on the 
terrace, looking guilty when Evelyn accused 
him of making his escape from a ride over the 
farms with Sir John. 

Miss Thomason rivalled Clara's genius for 
a flirtation ; but she did not exercise her talent 
with the same grace, and Isabel's rather fas- 
tidious taste was offended by the loudness of 
her laugh, and the freedom with which she 
expressed her opinions. Almost insensibly 
they divided company. Miss Thomason had a 
great deal to say to Captain Gascoigne, who 
did not seem to be otherwise than amused, and 
Lord Raeburn talked as assiduously to Isabel, 
although she was not so well disposed to listen. 
Lord Edward walked on her other side ; but 



262 STILL WATERS. 

when David drove past them, bowing from his 
seat beside Clara with a smile of proud pleasure, 
he became so silent and abstracted, that his 
presence did not afford her much protection. 

Several times in the course of their walk 
Isabel wished herself at home, without being 
aware of the real cause of her dissatisfaction. 
She believed that she was only annoyed by 
Lord Raeburn, and knew not with how much 
of wounded feeling she resented Captain Gas- 
coigne's acquiescence in Miss Thomason's 
desire to monopolize his attention. Perhaps 
he could not help himself, and yet she had 
seen enough of Evelyn to be aware that his 
will was not so easily controlled. 

' This is the oak/ said Gerald Courtown, 
who hovered between the two parties without 
attaching himself to either ; ' a ragged old 
stump, and not to be compared to many in your 
Chase, Raeburn/ 

' Indeed V said the young lord, languidly. 
' You know so much more of my place than I 
do myself/ 

Isabel's large liquid eyes lighted up with 
indignant scorn, on which Gerald was not slow 
to comment. ' You need not believe him, 
Miss Lennox; it is only swagger/ 



STILL WATERS. 263 

f It is nothing of the sort/ said Lord Kae- 
burn ; and although he could not understand 
Isabel's displeasure, he conceived some expla- 
nation to be necessary. ' I am not much at 
home, you know — on duty with my regiment, 
and I find so much to do when I come down 
here, that I am as little as possible at the 
Chase. The bailiff comes with an arm full of 
papers before I have done breakfast, and the 
farmers want to see my lord himself about a 
reduction of rent. That sort of thing is rather 
a bore, so I keep out of the way, and I dare 
say they do as well without me/ 

'Very likely/ said Isabel, turning from him 
to Gerald. ' You should say nothing disre- 
spectful of Leonard's Oak, Mr. Courtown. 
Everything looks gray to-day ; but it is a very 
picturesque object on a sunny afternoon, par- 
ticularly in early spring/ 

' I dare say it is, only I don't care about the 
picturesque. But as to its girth/ 

' Oh, don't tell me the number of inches. 
I am sure I care still less about its girth. 
Next you will tell me how many people might 
dine in the hollow trunk, and nothing incenses 
me so much. I wish you could take the his- 
torical line, and say how manv generations 



l6\ STILL WATEKS. 

have lived and died since Leonard planted his 
oak, and who Leonard was, for I cannot find 
out/ 

' Probably/ said Evelyn, who now came up 
with them, l a Saxon serf, who herded swine in 
the forest in the days of William Rufus.' 

' Oh no/ said Isabel, decidedly, ( Leonard is 
not a Saxon name / and Lord Edward was 
amused by the ready objection, and declared 
that she was qualified to sift evidence on a 
committee. 

' There is distinction for you V said Miss 
Thorn ason, laughing. f I am not too learned 
to accept Captain Gascoigne's conjecture. It 
shall be a Saxon serf, and we may devise some 
plausible excuse for his foreign name. Perhaps 
he was adopted by a Norman noble, and 
planted the oak in memory of his former 
servitude/ 

' I don't care to weave a romance/ said 
Isabel, turning to Lord Edward, as the only 
one of the party likely to follow her meaning; 
so much had her opinion of Captain Gascoigne 
changed in the course of their half-hour's 
walk. 

Lord Edward did not understand, or did not 
exert himself to assent, and Miss Thomason 



STILL WATERS. 265 

said, with brusquerie, ' That sliows a want of 
imagination / 

c Say, rather/ rejoined Evelyn, ' that it is the 
proof of a vivid imagination. Miss Lennox so 
fully realizes the past, that she feels it to be 
an insult to the real Leonard, who lived and 
died, to give him a fictitious history. Is it not 
so, Miss Lennox V 

I Something like it/ said Isabel, colouring 
with pleasure. 

' I suppose it will affront you/ said young 
Courtown, rejoining the group, f but I have 
paced the tree, and it is really a sizeable spe- 
cimen. And next I shall have an opportunity 
of telling you how many might dine in the 
trunk, for you ought to take refuge there, un- 
less you wish to get wet through. A shower 
is coming up/ 

' Let us get into the trunk by all means/ 
said Miss Thomason, ' that will be charming/ 

I I suppose it is from want of imagination 
again/ said Isabel ; i but I think a hollow trunk 
is apt to be mouldy, damp, and disagreeable, 
and I would rather get wet in a legitimate way 
in the open air/ 

Captain Gascoigne, however, dissented from 
this opinion, and in suffering him to take care 



266 STILL WATERS. 

of her there was a satisfaction which she 
could not readily forego. He secured for her 
the place next the opening, and stood beside 
her to ward off the rain, disregarding her 
assurances that nothing gave her cold. And 
in this way the time passed so pleasantly, 
that Miss Tliomason was the first to he im- 
patient of delay, and to discover that the shower 
had blown over. 

They retraced their steps in a different 
order, Captain Gascoigne walking first with 
the two ladies, while Lord Raeburn rather 
sulkily fell behind with Gerald Courtown, and 
contemplated the expediency of renouncing 
ladies' society until they learned to estimate 
the loss they must sustain in consequence of 
such a step. 

' This schoolmaster is the only accession to 
our party to-night/ remarked Miss Thorn ason ; 
' and I gather, from Clara Gascoigne's descrip- 
tion, that he is what my brother calls a 
circumstance. Is it not so, Miss Lennox V 

' I don't quite know what you mean by a 
circumstance/ said Isabel ; ( but he is a scholar 
and a gentleman, and a great friend of ours.' 

' That is a circumstance/ rejoined Miss 
Thomason, undaunted by Isabel's defensive 



STILL WATERS. 26 



tone. ' Your great scholars are apt to be un- 
polished specimens/ 

' Dr. Berkeley came in while I "was with 
Miss Lennox/ said Evelyn ; ' and I saw enough 
of him to be glad that we are to meet again 
this evening/ 

Isabel rightly judged that' a word from 
Captain Gascoigne would make Miss Thomason 
more sensible of her want of good breeding 
than anything which she could say. Laura 
seemed to feel that she had had enough of the 
subject, and she turned back to talk to Lord 
Raeburn. 

1 You did not tell me that you had seen the 
Doctor/ said Isabel ; ' he must be glad to have 
one stranger less to encounter, for he is very 
shy. I cannot think how he made up his 
mind to the effort of coming here/ 

1 His mind was made up for him/ said 
Evelyn ; l at least, so I concluded from some- 
thing he said ruefully to your sister. And it 
is very evident that she can ask nothing of 
him in vain/ 

' Ruth and he are very good friends/ said 
Isabel, quickly; and, as Captain Gascoigne 
replied by a meaning smile, she added, ' He is 
nothing more, indeed; we have known him 



268 STILL WATERS. 

ever since we were children/ And when, in 
pondering over the incidents of the walk, Cap- 
tain Gaseoigne's insinuation recurred to her 
mind, it was dismissed as simply an amusing 
instance of the misapprehensions which ensue 
frorn a brief acquaintance. 



STILL WATERS. ^69 



CHAPTER XX. 

Sie sassen urid tranken am Tkeetiseh, 

Und sprachen vou Liebe viel. 
Pie Herren. die waren asthetisck. 

Pie Damen von zartein Gefiilil. 

H. Heine. 

rPHE Doctor looked far from happy at the 
-*- end of the Ions: dinner table. He was 
near Sir John, who, instead of leaving him in 
peace, attempted to restore his equanimity by 
well-chosen topics, — questions about the new 
school buildings, and statistics gleaned from 
the last Board of Guardians. But his trouble 
was thrown away. The Doctor could hear 
nothing but the creaking of shoes and the 
clattering of dishes, and he looked scared, dis- 
tracted, and miserable. Lady Maria took him 
in hand ; but even her powers of conversation 
were baffled, and she was obliged to relinquish 
the attempt ' to draw him out/ Availing him- 
self of the earliest opportunity of rejoining the 
ladies in the drawing-room, he was so fortunate 
as to find Isabel sitting a little apart from the 
rest, and he instantly repaired to her side. 



2/0 STILL WATERS. 

( Ah, Miss Isabel/ lie said, reproachfully, 
1 you have not allowed me to speak a word to 
you/ 

( I could not stay down-stairs until you 
came/ Isabel replied, c for I was in walking 
guise. Besides, it is quite de rigueur that the 
ladies should retire for an hour before dinner/ 

' But at dinner you might have contrived to 
be nearer me/ 

A certain consciousness that she had made 
no effort to do so did not check Isabel's incli- 
nation to stand on the defensive. 

1 It was not for me to marshal the guests ; 
and as a matter of course people fall into their 
old places, so I went where I sat the night 
before/ 

( You will become quite learned in the ways 
of the world, Miss Isabel/ 

' Well/ retorted Isabel, ' if I learn nothing 
worse than these two usages, there is no harm 
done/ 

1 That was Captain Gascoigne to whom you 
were talking all through dinner V 

Isabel briefly assented, as she applied herself 
to the task of rearranging her bouquet. 

1 And David seemed to be as much taken 
with Miss Gascoigne/ 



STILL WATERS. 27 1 

' You don't seem to understand/ answered 
Isabel, annoyed by this unconscious revelation 
of the Doctor's train of thought, 'you don't 
seem to understand the great social duty of 
talking to your next neighbour at dinner time. 
Lady Maria's attentions to you were a laudable 
instance of perseverance under difficulties.' 

'They were very ill bestowed/ said Dr. 
Berkeley. ' I was wishing myself in my study 
all the while, or at your comfortable tea-table. 
I wonder why I consented to come out.' 

1 You cannot wonder more than I do. Cap- 
tain Gascoigne says that, Ruth sent you.' 

' How should he know ?' the Doctor asked, 
in a quick, nervous voice. 

( He guessed as much from something which 
passed at his visit this morning. But I want 
to get at the root of the matter, for I don't 
understand why Ruth, who discouraged our 
escapade, should cause you to plunge into the 
vortex of dissipation.' 

' Perhaps, because she does not care what 
becomes of me. And, at all events, it does 
not affect me in the same way; for my only 
consolation is that it is but one night's penance, 
and I shall not even stay for breakfast to- 
morrow.' 



2J2 STILL WATERS. 

' So that you will not have to -undergo 
another meal/ said Isabel, laughing. 'Now 
donH go and tell Ruth that we are getting 
into mischief. Only say that we shall go 
home to tell our own story on Thursday. To- 
morrow there is to be a grand expedition to 
Witham Abbey/ 

1 So Lord Edward told me/ 

1 Ah ! that reminds me to observe that you 
don't make the most of your opportunities. 
Surely Lord Edward is sober and sensible 
enough to suit you, and he was within speaking 
distance at dinner/ 

' One might as well speak to the winds 
when Miss Gascoigne is in the room. When 
she came in before dinner, I was telling him 
of the new discoveries in the art of deciphering 
unknown tongues, and he began at once to 
answer at random, listening all the while to 
what she was saying to your brother. It is a 
singular infatuation/ 

' Not singular, I am sure, nor yet sur- 
prising. I did not know, until I saw her in 
her own set, how very attractive she is/ 

' She fidgets so, that it is quite fatiguing/ 
said the Doctor, absently, as he looked across 
the room to Clara, who was talking, laughing, 



STILL WATERS. 273 

and moving her small taper fingers with the 
foreign action she had acquired from Madame 
la Rue. Perhaps he contrasted her restless- 
ness with the habits of stillness and repose in 
which Ruth had been trained by her long 
attendance in a sick room. 

Isabel's next remark showed that her thoughts 
were travelling in the same direction. 

( Ruth told Captain Gascoigne that mamma 
was much as usual/ 

' Not so well as usual ; at least, it was one 
of her bad days. Miss Lennox was quite sur- 
prised to see Captain Gascoigne, and she won- 
dered whether he had ridden into Holmdale on 
purpose to inquire/ 

' I suppose that it was as good an object for 
a ride as another/ said Isabel, carelessly. She 
was rather tired of answering or evading the 
Doctor's home questions, and she rejoiced in 
the diversion effected by Clara's approach. 

' Don't you think,' said that young lady, 
' that there is a want of originality in talking 
to Isabel, which you can do any day at Holm- 
dale V 

' "Well/ said the Doctor, assuming an air of 
resignation. It was the only reply which 
occurred to him; and Lady Maria, who was 

vol. 1. T 



274 STILL WATERS. 

near enough to hear what was passing, wondered 
how he had gained the reputation of being a 
clever man. 

' You don't know what other course to pur- 
sue/ continued Clara, darting a glance of 
espieglerie and mischief towards Isabel, who 
seemed disposed to fire up in the Doctor's 
defence. ' Cannot you talk to me ?' 

1 1 am afraid that I should not amuse you/ 
the Doctor replied, with a reluctant smile. 

1 You are afraid that I should not under- 
stand you ! That is very severe. But here is 
Mr. James Courtown — a rising scholar. Ah, 
he has fled/ for, as she turned towards the 
shy and silent youth, he hastily retreated from 
the impending introduction. ' Or Lord Edward. 
I asked you quite on his account/ 

Clara did not this time appeal in vain. A 
word from her lips commanded Lord Edward's 
eager attention, and brought him to her side; 
and, though mortified to find that she had only 
summoned him to transfer him to Dr. Berke- 
ley, they entered into conversation. Clara 
flitted away, and Isabel was at liberty to 
look about her, and wonder what had become 
of Captain Gascoigne. She presently descried 
him through the folding-doors opening into 



STILL WATERS. 275 

the music-room, where he was engaged in 
choosing a piece for Miss Thomason. Clara 
went in there ; and since David could not talk 
to her, it occurred to him that he might as 
well join his sister for the sake of talking of 
her. 

Isabel welcomed him with a brightening 
look. 

' I have hardly seen you all day, David/ 

' That must be from a defect in your sight, 
for I have seen you, though we have not had 
much intercourse. And do you know what 
was the result of my inspection V 

1 Something complimentary, I hope/ 

( I have discovered that you are not so well 
dressed as Miss Gascoigne/ 

' Which is not surprising, as I have not the 
same sum to spend upon my dress/ 

1 Without being extravagant, it is possible 
to look nice. There is an unstudied grace 
about Miss Gascoigne ' 

f Which you wish me to study, in order to 
imitate/ said Isabel, playfully. ' I thought you 
were thinking of the wearer, and not of the 
things worn/ 

David was too much in earnest to like her 
raillery, and he changed the subject. 

T 2, 



2j6 STILL WATERS. 

' How well Miss Thomason plays/ 

' Very well/ said Isabel. Captain Gascoigne 
lingered so long in the music-room, that it was 
evident he thought so too, and she began for 
the first time to regret the want of perseverance 
which had interfered with the attainment of 
any proficiency in that accomplishment. Read- 
ing had been more agreeable than practising; 
but now it appeared that clever people, and 
those too whose good opinion she valued, were 
afraid of learned ladies, and liked to listen to 
good music. 

1 Miss Thomason is over-dressed, if you like/ 
said David ; i such loud colours/ 

1 She is outree in everything/ replied Isabel. 

' Then you did not get on with her this 
afternoon V 

' We did not exactly fall out, but we have 
not much in common/ 

' We had a very pleasant drive/ said David, 
' and it was lucky I went, for it would have 
been disagreeable for Miss Gascoigne to drive 
home in the rain ; as it was, she must have got 
wet if I had not taken my macintosh/ 

Isabel perceived that the privilege of having 
shielded Clara from the rain had much to do 
with David's overflowing happiness this evening, 



STILL WATERS. ZJJ 

and an involuntary smile was checked by mis- 
givings where all this was to end. 

' Now, Lennox/ said Captain Gascoigne, ap- 
proaching the brother and sister, c it is your 
turn to do duty in the music-room j I am quite 
tired of turniug over the leaves of Miss Thoma- 
son's book/ 

' It is not my vocation/ said David ; ' I 
never know what to admire/ 

( Then it is time to learn, in order to qualify 
yourself for a staff appointment. It is an im- 
portant branch of an A.D.C/s duty/ 

' I see no prospect of a staff appointment at 
present/ said David ; ' and, besides, Miss Tho- 
mason is not on speaking terms with me, 
though I can't imagine how I have offended 
her/ 

' On that point I can enlighten you ; she 
confided to me that Mr. Lennox was so very 
dull at dinner last night, that she was quite re- 
solved not to go in with him again. Go and 
make your peace now, and it will not be a long 
penance, for my cousin intends to sing as soon 
as this symphony is ended/ 

David required no second bidding, and he 
was duly grateful for information which enabled 
him to be in the field before Lord Edward. 



278 STILL WATERS. 

When Clara was the performer, there could be 
no difficulty what to admire, for all was fault- 
less. 

Captain Gascoigne drew in a chair, and sat 
down to talk to Isabel. 

' So there is to be a grand expedition to 
Witham Abbey to-morrow. The pony carriage, 
the barouche, and the riding-horses must be 
put in requisition to convey the party. How 
do you mean to go V 

c I suppose Clara will settle/ said Isabel. 

' Unquestionably she will, unless we exert 
ourselves ; and as I have a voice in the matter, 
I should like to know beforehand which you 
prefer. Are you fond of riding V 

c Only in theory, for I have had no oppor- 
tunity of learning. And I am afraid that it 
will not do to make my debut in a large caval- 
cade/ 

'No, there will be a risk, though I can 
easily imagine that any one so active and fear- 
less might ride from intuition. Then we must 
drive/ 

1 You need not/ said Isabel, colouring and 
looking down, and unable to express more 
clearly that she did not wish him to make any 
sacrifice on her account. 



STILL WATERS. 279 

1 My choice is not disinterested/ said Evelyn, 
pointedly, and Isabel was silenced. It was 
not his first speech of the kind, and though 
pleasant on reflection, she was too much em- 
barrassed to find it pleasant at the time. 

Captain Gascoigne went on talking, as if to 
give her time to recover herself. 

c To-morrow need not be lost time, for if we 
secure the front seat of the pony carriage, I 
can teach you the use of the reins. And next 
day you can try a quiet ride/ 

' Next day/ said Isabel, ' we go home/ 

' Do you indeed ? but four miles is no in- 
superable distance. Do you suppose that we 
shall not meet occasionally V 

' Gascoigne/ said Mr. Thomason, sauntering 
up to him, f it is such a fine evening that 
Raeburn and I propose to have our cigar in 
the colonnade. Are you disposed to join us?' 

' Presently/ replied Evelyn ; and to Lady 
Maria, who took a benevolent interest in the 
progress of a love affair, the interruption ap- 
peared even more inopportune than to Isabel. 
She professed an inclination to take a turn in 
the colonnade herself, and she asked whether 
Miss Lennox was afraid of the evening air ? 

No — Isabel never caught cold, and eagerly 



28o STILL WATERS. 

assented to the suggestion, so that Mr. Tho- 
mason was forced to postpone the enjoyment of 
his cigar, and give his arm to Lady Maria with 
as good a grace as he could assume. Isabel 
was not so soon ready, for, warm as the night 
was, Captain Gascoigne did not consider the 
shawl she had thrown about her a sufficient 
protection, and he wrapped her in a cloak of 
his own ; and, as before, Isabel found a new and 
strange delight in the solicitude which obliged 
her to relinquish her habitual defiance of such 
precautions. The soft radiance of the moonlight, 
and the stillness and fragrance of the evening 
air after the rain, were calculated to deepen the 
impressions to which Isabel was already suffi- 
ciently susceptible, and it was now, perhaps, for 
the first time, that she became fully conscious 
how absolutely the affections of her warm and 
loving heart were surrendered into the keeping 
of him who walked by her side, and drew her 
passive hand within his arm. 

( Do you remember standing here to see the 
fireworks V said Evelyn. 

' So well ! And how strange it seems to 
find ourselves here again/ said Isabel. And 
yet not so strange as pleasant, as she thought 
after the words had passed her lips. 



STILL WATERS. 28 1 

1 Cousin Clare was in great force that night, 
I remember, beginning her career by setting 
up a flirtation with a school friend of Lennox's 
— was not his name Clinton?' 

f Yes ; poor Jasper Clinton/ said Isabel, 
gravely at first, and then smiling at certain 
reminiscences which occurred to her. c How 
he did admire her ! I so often think of that 
party/ 

1 So do 1/ said Evelyn, although, if the 
truth were known, it might have appeared that 
the thought had hardly occurred to him from 
that day to this. ' It was like a start in life, 
and the actors have kept up their characters 
consistently enough. Clara, for example; and 
Lennox was as genial and pleasant as he has 
been ever since ; and your sister, I can see her 
now, sitting on the back bench, when others 
were dancing, looking sedate and dignified. 
And you ' 

' Oh/ said Isabel, drawing back, c please 
don't say what I was like.' 

' You need not be afraid/ said Evelyn, but 
he desisted at her word. 



282 STILL WATERS. 



CHAPTER XXT. 

L'onda che mormora 
Tra sponda e sponda, 
L'aura clie tremola 
Tra fronda e fronda, 
E meno instabile 
Del vostro cor ! 

Metastatic 

rpHE Doctor went home on the following 
-*- morning, and he fonnd his way to the 
Red Honse as soon as his avocations permitted. 
Mrs. Lennox was not well enough to see him, 
but Ruth came down at once. 

' Well/ he said, ' I have come to tell my 
news/ 

' I hoped you would come/ said Ruth. ' I 
am curious to hear how they are getting on/ 

' They seem very happy. Miss Isabel came 
down before I left, quite pleased that it was 
a fine day, for they are all going over to 
Witham/ 

f But you know what I want to hear/ said 
Ruth, with a touch of playfulness ; f that Isabel 
made a great impression/ 



STILL WATERS. 283 

c She looked very well. I think hers a 
much higher style of beauty than Miss Gas- 
coigne's/ 

' And did no one else show the same dis- 
crimination V 

' I have so little observation/ said the 
Doctor, rather piteously j ' but I will tell you 
who talked to her all the evening — Captain 
Gascoigne/ 

' Oh V said Ruth ; and her tone was dis- 
satisfied. ' What did you think of him V 

' I had no opportunity of judging ; but he 
looks gentlemanlike, and his easy, pleasant 
manner must just suit Miss Isabel/ 

' And Lord Edward, had you any talk with 
hira?' 

' Not much ; he was always hanging about 
Miss Gascoigne. And, do you know, that 
David is just as bad. He hardly seemed to 
know that another person was in the room. 
But I don't wonder that she likes to talk to 
him, for he is the greatest gentleman among 
them. His air is so striking, and his gay, 
courteous manner, at once spirited and gentle. 
It will be strange if anything comes of it, and 
yet strange things have happened/ 

' You are not going to turn match-maker/ 



284 STILL WATERS. 

said Ruth, with a smile. ' It is quite out of 
keeping with your years and decorum*' 

The Doctor looked confused, but he did not 
attempt to justify himself; and his next remark 
showed that his thoughts were still occupied 
with the same subject/ 

' After all, I suppose that Miss Gascoigne 
will be no such great heiress, for something 
must go with the title/ 

1 1 believe that it is all in Sir John's power/ 
said Ruth j ' but it is most likely that he will 
provide handsomely for his nephew, whose 
education he undertook ; and , he bought his 
company for him the other day. However, 
you may be certain that no division of the 
property can make David's suit appear anything 
but unpardonable presumption/ 

1 You know Miss Gascoigne better than I 
do/ replied Dr. Berkeley ; i but I have heard 
enough of her to doubt whether she would be 
much influenced by Sir John's wishes/ 

( I don't undertake to calculate probabilities/ 
said Ruth, amused by his pertinacity, c so settle 
it as you please, and I will give you credit for 
penetration, if your romance comes true. And, 
meanwhile, I am glad that they are enjoying 
life/ But these last words were spoken with 



STILL WATERS. 285 

less than Ruth's usual sincerity, for there was 
more of anxiety than of satisfaction in her 
thoughts both of Isabel and her brother, and 
she was almost unreasonably impatient for 
their return. 

Earlier on the following day than she had 
ventured to expect, Isabel's light step was 
heard upon the stair, and she sprang joyously 
into her mother's room. 

■ Well, mamma, here I am ! very glad to be 
at home again; so Ruth must not think me 
quite spoiled. David is walking, and Clara 
drove me over, and is waiting to see Ruth, and 
I shall stay and tell you my news.' 

Ruth went down at once, anxious to hear 
Clara's report of the visit. It was more graphic 
than the Doctor's, but substantially the same. 

c I have come,' she said, c on purpose to 
tell of Isabel's success. Her dress was not 
quite knowing, and her manner rather too pose, 
yet she was very much admired, especially by 
Lord Raeburn and my cousin the Captain. 
Her beauty is really magnificent, and she quite 
eclipses me when we are thrown together.' 

' You wish to be contradicted/ said Ruth j 
' but you do not need me to tell you that you 
are too unlike to provoke comparison.' 



286 STILL WATERS. 

( And therefore that no one who admires 
the one can be attracted by the other ; but 
Lord Raeburn's inconstancy is a proof to the 
contrary. Do you know, Ruth, it occurs to 
me that I am growing dreadfully old, and that 
it is quite time to begin to fall in love. So I 
mean to cast about for a proper object, and I 
am quite ready to receive any suggestions which 
you have to make/ 

Ruth smiled and shook her head. ' I am 
not going to play Nerissa's part/ 

1 Because you think that no Bassanio is 
forthcoming V 

' No ; but because you would not prize as it 
deserves a Bassanio's love/ 

' How do you know till I am tried ? I de- 
clare I know hardly any one who would choose 
the leaden casket/ 

' You have no right to say so, Clara. You 
have encouraged those who sought you from 
motives not wholly disinterested, while trifling 
with such true and deep love as few women 
have known/ 

' Meaning the Forlorn Hope. But that is 
an old story now, and, excepting him, there 
is no one, or hardly any one, who really 
cares/ 



STILL WATERS. 287 

1 Hardly any one/ repeated Ruth ; c surely 
one is enough/ 

c Certainly not/ replied Clara, with one of 
her wayward smiles. ' I must have a little 
variety of choice/ 

1 It is of no use, Clara ; you shall not tease 
me into saying anything fierce. As you say, 
we are growing old, and I quite despair of 
correcting any one so incorrigible, and am 
content that we should each go our own way/ 

f I am not content/ said Clara ; ' for some- 
times I fancy that I should like to walk in the 
shade with you, and sometimes that I will draw 
you into the sunshine. Really, Ruth, you look 
more thin and pale and wearied every time we 
meet, and I must know the reason why. Do 
you sleep for two hours together ?' 

' Not often. I have lost the habit, but I do 
just as well without it/ 

' Do you eat enough to satisfy a healthy 
sparrow V 

' I should hope not j it is the most voracious 
and insatiable animal in existence. Now, 
Clara, I am not going to answer any more 
irrelevant questions ; but I will, if you like, 
tell you what is on my mind just now. I know 
that I am foolishly anxious, but I cannot help 



288 STILL WATERS. 

fretting about Isabel. She is so unused to 
society, that she may take idle attentions and 
admiration for more than they are worth, and 
she is not like you. If, for pastime, her love 
is sought and won, and then slighted, the 
shadow will be cast on her whole life. Surely 
you will not suffer this/ 

' I am to turn Cerberus V said Clara, looking 
amused by the idea. ' It will be a new voca- 
tion; yet I might undertake it for your sake. 
Am I to intimate to any one who presumes to 
admire Isabel, that he may flirt with me as 
much as he pleases, but that she is to be con- 
sidered as inaccessible as an enchanted princess 
in a fairy tale V 

1 1 might have known/ said Ruth, ( that it 
was folly to expect you to be serious for one 
instant/ 

'I will be serious, dear Ruth, rather than 
vex you. I think I can guess to whom your 
dark allusions point, but I am not able to give 
you any satisfaction; for I know less of my 
cousin the Captain than of any person whatever 
with whom I am on speaking terms. I cannot 
tell what he may mean by his assiduous atten- 
tions, and it is impossible for me either to 
make or mar in the matter/ 



STILL WATERS. 289 

Clara had scarcely made this declaration, 
with a heightened colour and unusual excite- 
ment of manner, when Captain Gascoigne en- 
tered the room with David. It seemed that he 
was already established in habits of intimacy 
which rendered any apology for his early visit 
unnecessary ; and when Isabel came down stairs, 
he had as much to say to her as if they had 
not parted only an hour before. It was equally 
a matter of course that David should attach 
himself to Ruth and Clara. 

' I suppose/ he said, ' that Miss Gascoigne 
has told you all our news/ 

1 No/ answered Ruth ; ' I have heard nothing 
of your day at Witham/ 

f It was very successful/ said David, glancing 
mischievously towards Isabel and the Captain; 
' some people missed seeing the ruins which 
were supposed to be the object of the expedi- 
tion, but they did not appear to be inconsolable.'' 

' No/ replied Evelyn, with habitual coolness ; 
' there is great sameness in ruins, and the 
woods were remarkably pleasant/ 

' Oh, then, perhaps the omission was inten- 
tional/ 

' You know it was not, David/ said Isabel, 
looking distressed ; ' Lady Maria advised our 

vol. 1. u 



290 STILL WATERS. 

going through the green gate, which we fan- 
cied led to the ruins, while she waited with 
Mrs. Thomason for the rest of the party ; and 
then we were bewildered among the paths, and 
could not find our way out/ 

f And were found/ David added, f sitting on 
a fallen tree, very cool and composed, while we 
were tiring ourselves in search of them/ 

' I insisted that Miss Lennox should sit down, 
as she was becoming fatigued/ said Evelyn. 

Ruth did not wish that a discussion should 
be prolonged which disconcerted her sister as 
much as it entertained the other three ; and 
she interposed with an inquiry how they con- 
trived to divide company. 

' Gascoigne or Isabel — I don't know which — 
drove at such a pace as to distance the barouche/ 
said David, ' and we who rode, knew better 
than to follow in their dust, and struck across 
country by a way new to Miss Gascoigne/ 

' Yes, we had such a pretty ride/ said Clara. 
' Laura Thomason was enchanted, and leaped 
ditches and scrambled through fences in grand 
style. She is what people call an excellent 
horsewoman/ 

' A very ungraceful and unfeminine thing 
to be/ remarked David ; ' she deserved to break 



STILL WATERS. 29 1 

her neck two or three times over ; and yet, if 
she had come to grief in any way, I should 
have been blamed/ 

'You are severe on Miss Thomason/ said 
Evetyn ; c but I presume that your other com- 
panion did not offend you in the same way. 
How many times did Clara dismount and give 
you her horse to manage as well as her own, 
and then fall into an interesting tremor lest 
you should injure yourself or Zohrab V 

The description was sufficiently accurate to 
provoke a smile, although David was eager to de- 
fend Clara from the lightest shadow of censure. 
' Miss Gascoigne is perfectly right/ he said; 
' I dislike nothing so much as foolhardiness/ 

' And nothing/ retorted Evelyn, ' is so fool- 
hardy as irrational timidity/ 

' Do not answer him, Mr. Lennox/ said 
Clara, as she shook back her long silken curls. 
' The truth is, that the Captain is such a dis- 
agreeable and unaccommodating squire, that I 
ride with him as little as I can help, which is 
reason sufficient for these insulting remarks/ 

c He certainly does not deserve the honour/ 
said David ; ( and I hope that you will never 
have recourse to him while you can command 
my services/ 



29 3 STILL WATERS. 

I It is lucky you are so well provided for, 
cousin Clare/ said Evelyn ; c but I mean to ride 
in your suite, if not as your squire. You must 
know/ he added, turning to Ruth, ' that your 
sister intends to take riding lessons/ 

I I have no doubt that Isabel would enjoy 
them/ answered Ruth, rather stiffly ; ' but there 
is the slight difficulty that we possess neither 
horses nor riding gear/ 

' The first difficulty, at all events, may be 
easily overcome, when so many horses are 
standing idle in the Dyne Court stables; and 
your sister seemed to think that the last was 
not insurmountable. Indeed/ continued Evelyn, 
in the softened tone in which he generally ad- 
dressed Isabel, ' I intend you to prove that 
it is possible to be fearless without becoming 
unfeminine ; and I consider that you quite 
promised to be ready for your first ride on 
Monday/ 

' Oh no, I did not promise/ said Isabel, 
colouring. 

1 You did, indeed/ repeated Evelyn, with 
playful earnestness ; ' you said you would if 
you could, and I know you can if you will, so 
I accepted the promise as unconditional; and 
I wrote to my mother that I was unavoidably 



STILL WATERS. 293 

prevented from joining the family party at 
Scarborough.' 

Clara bethought herself that it was time to 
return to her guests at home, and she only 
tarried to remind Isabel that she had not told 
of Lady Maria's pressing invitation. 

' What was that V Bfoth asked, as David 
followed the Gascoignes to the carriage. 

' An invitation to Went worth Lodge/ re- 
plied Isabel ; ' I don't know whether she was in 
earnest, but Lady Maria said in her rapturous 
way that she wished so much to gather the 
same pleasant party again at her own house, 
and her words were taken up and echoed 
as usual by Mr. Wentworth. She said she 
should try and fix a day early in next month/ 

' And so you have your wish, Isabel/ said 
Ruth, ' in tasting some of the gaieties of which 
you have heard so much. And how do you 
like it?' 

' We had a very pleasant visit/ said Isabel ; 
but she was not communicative, reverting, after 
a few desultory remarks, to the matter which 
chiefly interested her. f You don't seem to 
wish me to learn to ride, Ruth. I have 
always wished it so much, and David has pro- 
mised to give me a habit.' 



294 STILL WATERS. 

{ I dare say it would be pleasant/ said Ruth. 

' And not prudent? I felt you would say 
so, but David saw uo harm ; and it seemed un- 
gracious to refuse when Captain Gascoigne took 
pains to find which horse would suit me best. 
He fixed on that pretty brown creature which 
Clara sometimes ridefl ; but she and Sir John 
both pressed me to use it as much as I please. 
And it has been one of my day-dreams to take 
long rides with David/ 

Ruth could not withstand Isabel's pleading 
tone, and relinquished the attempt to be pru- 
dent and hard-hearted, persuading herself that 
child-like enjoyment of the exercise might 
counteract more dangerous sentiments. So 
she remained passive when the matter was laid 
before their mother, who said languidly that 
it would be a nice amusement for Isabel ; and 
thus the question was decided. 



STILL WATERS. 295 



CHAPTER XXII. 

Quell' alma, ehe piena e di speme, 
Nulla terae, cousiglio non sente, 
E si forma una gioia presente 
Del pensiero che lieta sara. 

Metastasio. 

TT was about three weeks after this that 
-*- Miss Perrott put on her silk mautle and 
her best bonnet, pulling out the bows with more 
than ordinary care, in preparation for a visit 
to the Red House, ' since one never knows/ 
she thought, ' whom one may meet there/ 
The drawing-room was empty, however, and 
Ruth was summoned down stairs to receive 
her visitor. Miss Perrott greeted her with 
the usual inquiries after Mrs. Lennox, adding, 
that she supposed it was useless to ask to 
see her. 

' Quite, thank you/ said Ruth. ' Mamma 
has been so ill and weak lately — hardly able 
to see David for more than a few minutes at a 
time/ 

' Ah V said Miss Perrott, with a conse- 



20 STILL YTATERS. 

quential jerk of the best bonnet aforesaid. 
' Perhaps that is the reason your brother is so 
little at home/ 

' It is quite natural/ said Ruth, ( that the 
life of a quiet country town should have few 
attractions for a young man of David's age/ 

f Or for Isabel either, it appears/ 

f You know of old that Isabel was always 
resolved to follow where David led, and now 
they are more inseparable than ever/ 

' That may be very true, Ruth ; but I think 
that such an old friend as I am has a right to 
expect a little more openness; and I am not 
the only one to wonder whether your mother 
knows all that goes on, or if she can approve 
of it/ 

( "We keep nothing from my mother which 
she can care to hear/ said Ruth, steadily. 

' I am an old friend, you know/ repeated 
Miss Perrott, l or it might seem impertinent to 
interfere ; but, of course, if Mrs. Lennox is 
satisfied, there is no more to be said/ 

Miss Perrott was apt to take offence, and it 
cost Ruth an effort to make the concession 
which was necessary to appease her in the pre- 
sent instance. She said, however, with as 
good a grace as she could assume, that she was 



STILL WATERS. 297 

very willing to hear Miss Perrott's advice, 
though she could not engage to follow it. 

' Especially since it does not depend upon 
yourself, my dear. No one is blaming you ; 
for, indeed, we all admire the steady, sensible 
way you go about your duties; and your de- 
voted attendance to your poor mother is really 
quite admirable.' 

<Oh, Miss Perrott/ said Ruth, 'I don't 
promise to listen, if you talk in that way of 
what is my great happiness/ 

' I am not going to talk of you at all, Ruth. 
I have heard that people who do their duty 
conscientiously don't get themselves talked 
about; and I hope it is true, for I was never 
notorious in any way/ 

There was another pause, and Ruth checked 
a sigh of impatience at this long exordium. 
But Miss Perrott was coming to the point at 
last. 

' Of course a young man like David — Mr. 
Lennox, as I ought to call him, but I think I 
shall wait till he is a captain — must amuse 
himself in his own way ; but it seems impru- 
dent for a girl of Isabel's age and beauty to 
go about so much with no one else to look 
after her — and she was always high-spirited and 



290 STILL WATERS. 

wilful. Hiding over the country with Captain 
Gascoigne at her side is enough to give rise to 
reports, and some go so far as to say that there 
is to be a double marriage, and that everything 
is fixed, even to the wedding-day/ 

' The bridesmaids' dresses included V added 
Ruth. ' I hope that I am not expected to 
wear pink, for it does not suit my staid and 
sober character/ 

' If you turn everything into jest, I have 
done/ said Miss Perrott ; and though Ruth 
desired no other result, she again yielded to 
the necessity of restoring the old lady's equa- 
nimity. 

' Really/ she said, c it seems wiser to laugh 
at such idle gossip than to fret about it/ 

' If it is idle gossip \ but there is generally 
some ground for these reports/ 

( Not in this instance, however ; at least, if 
either David or Isabel have fixed their wedding- 
day, I have not been informed of it/ 

1 It is very possible/ said Miss Perrott, with 
asperity, ' that many things go on of which 
you are not informed. Strangers often know 
more than those nearest home.' 

Ruth auswered gravely, but with unruffled 
sweetness of temper — 



STILL WATERS. 299 

c Sometimes it seems so, because those who 
are of one household learn the necessity of 
forbearance, instead of being ever ready to 
suspect and question what they see. I can- 
not see any real harm in Isabel's rides; and 
if there is no harm, I could not ask her to 
give up anything she so much enjoys. She 
never goes without David/ 

' They start together/ said Miss Perrott ; 
( but I happen to know that she and Captain 
Gascoigne go scampering over the country, 
leaving the other two far behind. Mr. Dunn 
met them in the park a day or two ago. But 
I don't only object to the riding ; it cannot 
be good for a girl of Isabel's age to be so 
much at Dyne Court, if all stories are true 
that we hear of Miss Gascoigne. Now, they say 
that she will not look at any one but David, 
and I only wonder that Sir John can counte- 
nance it/ 

4 At all events/ said Ruth, ' our acquain- 
tance with Clara Gascoigne is no new thing/ 

' No ; but meeting here in a quiet way is 
very different from these constant visits to 
Dyne Court, considering that Miss Gascoigne 
is sadly wanting in discretion, and Sir John 
does not know how to guide her. I remember 



3CO STILL WATERS. 

■what Mr. Dunn said of her influence at the 
time of Jasper Clinton's affair/ 

Having thus delivered her testimony, JVliss 
Perrott departed, successful at all events in 
making Ruth thoroughly uncomfortable, though 
she had not extracted any interesting facts to 
impart to her circle of acquaintance. l But 
Ruth was/ as she remarked, c so very reserved, 
that it was impossible to get anything out of 
her/ 

Shades of care gathered on Ruth's brow as 
soon as her visitor was gone. Miss Perrott 
had only put into words her own indefinite 
dissatisfaction, and she had attempted more 
than once to place some restriction on this 
frequent intercourse with Dyne Court ; but it 
seemed to Isabel a sufficient answer that 
David washed her to go, or that Captain Gas- 
coigne said that he should expect them. Ruth 
could make allowance for the absorbing nature 
of a first love, but the conviction that her 
sister's affections were engaged only increased 
her uneasiness. Captain Gascoigne's admiration 
was very openly expressed, but his manner was 
too easy and confident to convey the impression 
of any deeper sentiments ; and she believed that 
Isabel would have confided to her any definite 
declaration of attachment, instead of shrinking, 



STILL WATERS. 301 

as now, from any explanation which might 
disturb her dream of happiness. 

Then Ruth wondered how far she was justi- 
fied in forbearing to appeal to her mother, but 
she decided as before, that she dared not run 
the risk of agitating her. Latterly Mrs. Len- 
nox had been in such a suffering state, at one 
time rendered wholly indifferent to passing 
events by languor and exhaustion, at another 
thrown into nervous excitement by a trifle. 
She rejected also the alternative of speaking to 
David ; her first conversation with him on the 
subject had not been sufficiently encouraging to 
incline her to repeat the attempt, and, besides, 
he was too much occupied with Clara to bestow 
a thought on others. And again Ruth sighed ; 
she supposed that David must fall in and out 
of love like other young men, but she had no 
desire to witness the disappointment which 
must be the inevitable result of this attach- 
ment. 

The conviction that she was in some sense 
responsible for the wrong which she was help- 
less to amend, was very oppressive, and it was 
as a satisfaction to her conscience that she re- 
solved to adopt the only remaining course of 
speaking herself to Isabel, although convinced 
that it would be as useless as it was painful. 



302 STILL WATERS. 

Ruth had scarcely formed this resolution, 
when there was a clatter of horses* feet on the 
pavement, and she turned to the window in 
time to see Captain Gascoigne spring from his 
horse, and throw the rein to his groom, in 
order that he might assist Isabel to dismount. 
He detained her hand for a moment before she 
turned into the house, and when she entered 
the room, the rich glow which still mantled her 
cheeks might scarcely be accounted for by the 
fact of her having ridden fast through the 
evening air. 

The flush was only deepened by Ruth's first 
question, ' Where is David V for Isabel under- 
stood the implied reproof. 

' David dines at Dyne Court, and he and 
Clara chose to skirt the town to avoid the 
paved streets. I would not stay to dinner, for 
I wanted to know how mamma was/ 

' I am glad you have come home/ said Ruth. 

' You think I have been out too long ? It 
was farther than we thought to Newton, and 
then Clara insisted that she was thirsty, and 
would stop to drink milk at the farm, and that 
delayed us. But you have not told me about 
mamma/ 

1 She seemed ill and languid when I came 
down stairs. Miss Perrott has been here/ 



STILL WATERS. 303 

' Has she V said Isabel, not much interested 
in the intelligence. 

1 It is unfortunate/ continued Ruth, making 
a desperate effort to overcome her cowardice, 
' it is unfortunate that your ride through the 
town should follow so close on her visit, for 
it seems that there is much gossip about your 
proceedings/ 

Isabel was looking idly out of the window, 
but she turned round, her eyes flashing back 
scorn and defiance, ( Who cares for Holindale 
gossip V 

' I do, for one/ saith Ruth, quietly. 

1 Then you have changed, Ruth ; for I re- 
member that when people talked of you and 
Jasper, you said that it did not signify/ 

Ruth's brows contracted, as if with a sudden 
pang, yet she answered gently, ' They spoke 
of the past, which could not be undone, and it 
would not have been wise or right to resent it. 
But when it is possible to avoid being talked 
about, we ought to do so/ 

' It is not possible in Holmdale. And pray 
what do these worthies say V 

1 1 don't wish to pain you, dear/ said Ruth, 
twining her arm round Isabel, as she stood 
beside her with averted head. ' You can guess 
what these reports are ; and if there is no truth 



304 STILL WATERS. 

in them, is it not indiscreet to go so much to 
Dyne Court, and to ride so constantly with 
Captain Gascoigne V 

There was a brief pause, and perhaps Ruth's 
heart beat as violently as her sister's in the 
eagerness of suspense. Then Isabel said slowly — 

( But what if they are true, Ruth ? I am 
unworthy of his love ; but if it is mine, is this 
scrupulous propriety to come between us V 

f It will be no barrier to one who really 
loves. If he has not yet declared, let him now 
openly declare his attachment/ 

1 Say what you will, Ruth/ said Isabel, 
while hot and angry tears started to her eyes, 
1 you shall not make me doubt, for I know that 
he is true. But I could see how you have dis- 
trusted and misrepresented him from the first/ 

• I did not mean to do so, dear. I quite 
admit that he is clever and agreeable, and 
never more agreeable than when he is talking 
to you. But that is not all which is necessary/ 

( Because he is gay and pleasant, you think 
he is wicked ! I am sure that he has never 
said anything to which even you could object. 
And there is no merit in parading principle/ 

1 No ; but it is easy to trace the true spring 
of action. And if this is wanting, dearest, what 



STILL WATERS. 305 

will the strongest love avail? But do not 
look so indignant, as if I was speaking against 
Captain Gascoigne, for I really don't know him 
well enough to judge/ 

1 Because you are resolved not to know him. 
When he comes here, yon are barely civil, and 
hardly ever speak to him/ 

' And whose fault is that, Isabel V said Ruth, 
with a smile. ' I only see him when you are 
by, and then he does not care to speak to me/ 
Isabel tried to smile also, but she was dis- 
composed and agitated by the foregoing discus- 
sion, and the attempt ended in a flood of tears. 
She hastily left the room, while Ruth remained 
to torment herself by the conviction that she 
must have performed her ungracious office in 
a very ungracious manner. Mutual constraint 
was the only apparent result ; and Isabel heaved 
a sigh of relief when tea was concluded and 
Ruth went up to her mother's room. 

Isabel was in a desultory humour that evening, 
and she could settle neither to her work or her 
reading. At last she had recourse to the vellum 
book in which the incidents of her uneventful 
life were recorded, interspersed with fragments 
of poetry, original and selected ; and the name 
of Gascoigne occurred sufficiently often in the 
vol. 1. x 



306 STILL WATERS. 

later pages of the diary to give an interest to 
the perusal. Then she drew a chair into the 
window,, and sat dreamily watching the harvest 
moon, and thinking to how much greater ad- 
vantage she appeared in the colonnade at Dyne 
Court, where the dark masses of shadow thrown 
across the turf by the Scotch firs bore witness to 
her undisputed sovereignty, while here she car- 
ried on a faint and unsuccessful warfare with the 
nickering gas-lamps of the High-street. Isabel 
made some progress in an effusion, not quite 
adapted to the Spenserian stanza in which it 
was cast, which set forth the debasing effect of 
' sordid, grovelling cares ' on the noblest and 
truest natures, with an indirect reference to 
Miss Perrott, Ruth, and Holmdale, although 
there might have been some difficulty in reco- 
gnising the respective descriptions. She was 
mending the concluding lines when David 
passed the window with a quick step, and in 
another moment entered the room. 

{ All alone, Isabel ? ' he said. * How is 
mamma to-night ? ' 

' Ruth thinks that she has settled well, and 
may have a better night ; and she has gone 
to lie down herself, to try and get some sleep 
before Sarah goes to bed/ 



STILL WATERS. 307 

f So you have had a solitary evening, and 
might as well have stayed to dine at Dyne Court. 
You would have enjoyed the walk home — it 
is a lovely evening, and Miss Gascoigne and 
the Captain walked with me to the park gates/ 

' And the dinner was pleasant V 

' Very pleasant. Sir John went to sleep, 
and the Captain read the paper, and we talked. 
Miss Gascoigne will be here to-morrow to fix 
a day for this joint visit to the Wentworths. 
Lady Maria has written to name Saturday, and 
if it suited Sir John, he was to forward this 
scented envelope to you. Sir John will not go 
himself, but Miss Gascoigne is quite keen about 
it, and she says the barouche will convey us all. 
It is about thirteen miles from here/ 

f It is a very cordial note/ said Isabel, giving 
the note to her brother, ( and I dare say it 
would be pleasant/ 

f Or, rather, that it will be pleasant. Why 
should you speak in the conditional V 

e Because I don't think I ought to go/ said 
Isabel, in an unsteady voice, while the tears 
were again ready to start. ' Ruth says that 
I have been going about too much — riding, 
and that sort of thing/ 

' You silly child/ said David ; ' Ruth must 



o8 STILL WATERS. 



not make you as great a prude as herself. 
Besides, if it is the riding to which she objects, I 
can set your mind at rest, for I happen to know 
that there are no riding-horses at the Lodge/ 

1 And I don't know that it would be right 
to go while mamma is so ill/ continued Isabel. 

David was still less disposed to accept this 
objection ; perhaps because he felt that it must 
apply in a certain degree to himself. c It seems/ 
he said, c that you have employed 3 T our solitude 
in conjuring up fanciful evils. I asked Ball 
about my mother to-day, and he disclaimed 
any cause for uneasiness. He says she is only 
suffering from the low nervous fever which 
attacks her every autumn, very distressing to 
see, but not at all alarming. Besides, you are 
never with her, and I don't know what filial 
duty you fulfil by sitting here alone/ 

1 Well/ said Isabel, ' we must consult Ruth 
to-morrow/ 

' You may consult her if you please, though 
I don't promise to abide by her decision, for I 
am at least equally competent to decide what is 
fitting ; and Miss Gascoigne takes for granted 
that we shall go/ 

f Ah, David ! ' said Isabel, with a sunshiny 
smile, f there is your attraction/ 



STILL WATERS. 309 

c What, then ? I care not who knows it/ re- 
joined David ; but his quick nervous tone, and the 
colour which flew into his face, did not entirely 
bear out his words. e You cannot deny its force/ 

f No/ said Isabel, now grave enough, for it 
is easy to be prudent for other people; aud she 
was ready to hand on some of the good advice 
which she had rejected on her own account. 
' In its force the danger lies ; for I suppose 
there is no one more irresistible than Clara 
when she wishes to please/ 

David bit his lip, impatient of the inference. 
' That is unworthy of you, Isabel ; neither you 
nor I have any cause to accuse Miss Gascoigne 
of caprice ; but I begin to believe the severe 
things which are said of one woman's inclina- 
tion to depreciate another/ 

( Not really, David V said Isabel, extending 
a timid hand to detain him when he would 
have turned away; and when he met her full, 
earnest gaze he instantly relented. 

( No, not really ; at least, I will not believe 
there is such littleness of mind in you. If I 
thought that you would listen patiently, and 
without misconstruction/ 

c You may trust me, David/ said his sister j 
and he required no further assurance. 



3*0 STILL AYATERS. 

' I would trust none other. To all but you 
such a confession would appear a presump- 
tuous dream. I love Clara Gascoigne, and I 
sometimes hope that my love is not unrequited. 
Those have accused her of idle coquetry who 
never wakened the springs of true, earnest 
feeling, which it may be mine to win, to 
cherish, and repay with the devotion of my 
whole heart/ 

1 But even then/ said Isabel,, slowly. 

f I know what you would say. You need 
not remind me that I have nothing else to 
offer, — that it will not, in the world's estima- 
tion, supply the lack of name, of land, and 
riches. But I care not, if she is satisfied. 
AVe are both young, and life is before us ; and 
with such a guiding star I must achieve suc- 
cess, and break down* the miserable barrier 
between us/ 

There was a fire in his eye, and a proud 
confidence in his tone, which did not animate 
Isabel ; and he added, with some bitterness — 

' You doubt it, Isabel. You think my hopes 
visionary and impracticable/ 

Isabel was forced to reply; and there was, 
perhaps, a little cowardice in transferring the 
odium of the sentiment to another. 



STILL WATERS. 311 

c Ruth, who knows Clara so much better 
thau I do, says that she has been too much 
spoiled by admiration to love in earnest, until 
she meets with one who is insensible to her 
attractions/ 

' You have no cause to say so, Isabel/ said 
her brother. ' At least I imagine that you 
alio w Evelyn Gascoigne is agreeable ; and if 
she were the coquette you wish me to believe 
her, she might have sought to detach him from 
a pursuit which he finds sufficiently engrossing 
to blind him even to his cousin's charms. I 
must repeat that she has only trifled with idle 
admiration, because she never knew the true, 
deep, disinterested love which is now her 
portion/ 

1 Lord Edward's love was true/ said Isabel. 

{ Lord Edward ! Was it possible that his 
cold, ceremonious attentions should be the 
source of anything but annoyance ? His temper 
is wholly uncongenial, and you cannot accuse 
her of encouraging his hopeless passion/ 

Isabel would not reply that Lord Edward's 
day of encouragement was past, at the risk 
of being again reproached with prejudice. And 
her misgivings were almost forgotten when 
David poured forth his glowing tale of hopes 



3^2 STILL WATERS. 

and fears, and admiration ripening into love, 
in which the last few weeks had flitted by like 
a feverish dream. She would no longer believe 
that Clara was trifling with the deep and 
earnest love of which she was the object. 

But in the solitude of her own room, when 
Isabel thought over all that had passed, the 
conviction revived that Clara was ouly actuated 
by the heartless coquetry inherent to her 
nature, and she sighed and felt that, if Ruth 
knew all, she would deem the visit to Went- 
worth Lodge more inexpedient than ever. And 
her heart was very full ; for even now, when 
David had imparted to her, and to her alone, 
his cherished hopes, she learned the change in 
their relations. To him, as to her, a new and 
absorbing interest had arisen to sever the bond 
which had in earlier days rendered the brother 
and sister all in all to each other. Towards 
that happy childhood Isabel now reverted with 
a strange yearning, feeling that its simplicity 
and truthfulness were gone by for ever, and 
her spirit quailed before the unknown joys, as 
well as the trials in store for them. 

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